Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Freshwater Ich, White Spot Disease: Case Histories of Use

Related Articles: Freshwater Diseases, Ich/White Spot Disease, Freshwater Medications, Formalin/Formaldehyde, Malachite Green, FW Disease Troubleshooting,

Related FAQs: FW Ich 1, FW Ich 2, FW Ich 3, FW Ich 4, & FAQs on: FW Ich Causes, Etiology, Diagnosis, Ich Remedies That Work, Phony Ich Remedies That Don't Work, Ich Remedy Sensitive Livestock, Ich Medicines, & Aquarium Maintenance, Choose Your Weapon: Freshwater Fish Disease Treatment Options by Neale Monks, Freshwater Infectious Disease, Freshwater Fish Parasites, African Cichlid Disease 1, Cichlid Disease,

Read... and heed, the triumphs and travails of others noted here.

Re: Newbie that did EVERYTHING wrong-UPDATE with a few more questions, FW, Ich, temp. f'     3/7/12
Good morning,
Thank you for all your advice and answers last week.  I think things are looking up in my tank.  I have tested daily and the water quality has been consistently good (ammonia=0, nitrites=0, nitrates=5.0, ph=steady somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6 on my test kit).  The good water has lifted everyone's spirits, I am really seeing evidence of your knowledge that water quality is key.
Based on your site, I have also changed to a higher quality food and am alternating between a general tropical flake and a Spirulina flake, with an algae wafer for the Pleco every other day or so.
The one thing that I cannot kick is the Ich.  I have read all of your links on freshwater Ich, and I am noticing a difference of opinion amongst your experts regarding the most efficacious and least stressful treatment.  I suspect this is the case in all areas of expertise, it certainly is in mine (which obviously has nothing to do with fish).  I also see that advice is highly dependent upon particular circumstances, again common among all fields, I imagine.
<You are correct>
Anyway, because of this I am back to seek your advice with my particular circumstance.  I elevated the temperature in my tank as you suggested.  It is now between 82.0 and 82.6
<...?! Needs to be steadily 85-86F.>

depending on the time of day (the temperature in my house fluctuates quite a bit, and I think my heater struggles to remain constant).
<Need a larger wattage likely>
 I read several cautions in the "Ich files" against temps higher than this for the platies, neons, Kuhli loach and Pleco, so I was scared to go higher.
<Don't be. Is fine temporarily>

 The temperature has been up since Sunday, and the Ich
is not getting worse, and in fact seems somewhat improved, but I see one or two new spots every day.  Those disappear quickly, then just when I think all the spots are gone, I spot one or two others. Also, some of the fish still flash, although ironically, the "flashers" are the ones without any visible spots at all.
<The spots are only symptomatic, not the protozoan itself... All fishes here are infested>
My questions are these: 1) is this temperature high enough?

 2) how long should I keep the temperature elevated?
<... posted.... a week or two>
2) with this method, when should I expect to see improvement? and 3) is a slow, steady improvement typical of the heat treatment method, so patience is in order?
<... read again>
Thank you once again.  I feel like we (the fish and I) are turning a corner and if we can just "lick the Ich" we will be healthy. If that happens, I swear I will NEVER, EVER introduce a new fish without quarantine.
<And you, B>

Heat & salt for white spot in community tank?     3/6/12
My question is do we have the heat up enough as husband wants to increase a little more but I am very nervous to do so, are we adding enough salt, again I'm being cautious for the clowns and Bristlenose and can you confirm how long we need to keep this up for after the spots have disappeared?
Basically we discovered white spot in our community tank 6 days ago.  We are new to this hobby (our first tank) and this is our first case of white spot.  We have a 400L tank / external canister filter Aqua One 2700L with UV.  Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 5, PH usually 7 (though this has raised slightly since we added the airstone), GH 10 KH 5, temp usually 26 /27 and two 25% water changes per week and it's a planted tank.  Our community consists of 2 Dwarf Gouramis, 10 Black Skirt Tetra's, 1 Bristlenose, 4 boesemanni Rainbows and 4 clown loaches (all fish between 1 & 2.5 inches).  We very stupidly did not quarantine our two new clowns when we picked them up from our local pet shop. They looked fit and healthy, but within 10 day's 1 single white spot appeared on one of them. We read up on the salt and heat method and decided to go this way.  We added 1 tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons and slowly started to raise the temp in the tank at 1 degree per day but found that our heaters were not really up to the job and we couldn't get above 28 (2 x 200 watt aqua one). In the mean time our two original clowns had now also shown 3 or 4 white spots on each and two of the black skirts had 1 each on their tails. Drove the 40 min.s to the pet shop and picked up 2 x 300 watt heaters that have now been in for two full days, temp now sitting at 30. All the white spots have fallen off the clowns and tetras, but one tiny single spot has shown up on one of the rainbows this morning. We currently are doing a 25% water change daily, vacuuming the gravel and plants, have added an airstone for more oxygen, and adding 1 table spoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons in the replacement water along with stress coat. Everyone appears happy, all eating and swimming together, clowns are out all the time and seem to be enjoying the warmer temperature, I really hope we have caught this early enough as we would be devastated if we lost any of these guys. Is there anything else we should be doing? Many thanks in advance Rebecca
<Mmm, not much more... you could add a bit more salt, read here:
but I wouldn't raise the temperature much more than where you have it now (about 85 F for non-metric users).
Bob Fenner>
Re: Heat & salt for white spot in community tank?     3/6/12

Thanks Bob, I have read the article and we will keep going then with what we are doing, will go for a heaped table spoon per 5 gallon (giving a little extra) and leave at 30.  Can't see any spots today so will start counting down the 14 days from now unless any do re appear then will re count. No one's stressing yet which is a good sign (except for me!!). Again thank you for coming back to me, your site is very informative. Regards Rebecca
<Ah, good. One more thing I'd mention; do make up and store that daily change water... at least a day in advance. Cheers, BobF>
Re: Heat & salt for white spot in community tank?

Sorry for my naivety Bob, why would we need to do that?
<Sorry for the lack of clarity. There are a few "plusses"; please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/treath2o.htm
Re: Heat & salt for white spot in community tank?   3/6/12

Thanks Bob, I have had a read.  Our water is from a bore on our property we pump the water directly from under the ground in to a large storage tank.
 We don't treat it with anything and when we bought the property we had the water tested by a professional company, which came back pretty good with a natural PH 6.8. With this in mind would we still need to rest the water?
<I would add a bit of sodium bicarbonate to bring the pH up... to the low 7's... and aerate it a bit ahead of using>
 Also I only add the stress coat to the water just in case of any metals and to help the slime coat on the fish (not sure if we need to or not!!). Thanks your help is much appreciated, Rebecca
<Welcome. B>
Re: Heat & salt for white spot in community tank?    3/6/12

Thanks Bob, we will give that a go too. Fingers crossed all will be good and our little fish will survive our stupidity...I will buy my husband a quarantine / hospital tank for his birthday next month LOL!!........
<Sounds very good. BobF>

Clown Loaches with ick 2/18/12
Hello WWM crew! Quite thankfully this is the first time I've needed to contact you guys for any help, so I guess I've been doing things right for a while! Down to the problem. I recently switched my 125 gallon aquarium over from saltwater to freshwater. Things have been going well and looking good for the past month and it looks spectacular. Current stock in the aquarium consist of nine Australian Rainbowfish, four Bala sharks, a three spot gourami, a tiretrack eel, an albino Senegal Bichir, and seven clown loaches (two along the three inch mark and five at about an inch and a half, two inches). I try to keep the diet offered as varied as possible, with more than half of their meals being frozen foods (with vegetable matter being offered at least once or twice a week), frequent feedings of live brine shrimp and black worms, occasional offerings of dried seaweed, and when I flake food I use a mixed preparation of Omega-One tropical flakes, a garlic enhanced pellet food, and algae flake food. Anyways today I noticed that one of the larger clown loaches had a few Ich spots on it, and I wanted to really nip this in the bud, because it's the first time I've been able to get a nice little group of clowns together. After reading multiple sites online (yours included of course) and it seems that the most commonly agreed upon ideas being that clown loaches are sensitive to medications, and that salt and elevated temperatures seem to be very helpful in these cases. I was planning on gradually upping the temperature up to 85, and I have some salt that I can add to the water but was unsure of the amount to use in this situation. Aside from elevated temperature and salt, is there anything I can do to help aide my squad of loaches? Thank you guys so much!
<Greetings. Salt + heat will be the best approach here, and your fish shouldn't have any trouble tolerating the 2 g/l required for success. Heat alone, ~30 C, can effect a cure too, but I've never used this approach personally, though Bob F. recommends it. Either way, you need to run the system thus for at least a week. Medications containing copper and formalin are the ones most likely to stress loaches; medications that don't contain either, like eSHa EXIT, should be safer. Loaches.com is a good site to get reports on specific brands/medications. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Clown Loaches with ick 2/18/12

Just verifying, but 2 g/l would be 2 grams of salt per every one litre, correct?
<Yes indeed. Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

P. pulcher in quarantine has Ich... but a little confused? 11/25/11
Hi crew,
Thanks always for an awesome resource and for putting up with us all who write in.
<A pleasure to share>
As per photo attached, I believe the female Pelvivachromis pulcher I bought and put into quarantine 1 week ago has Ich.
I noticed this today - yesterday there was no sign of the protozoan. She shares the tank with 1 male Krib and 1 Aplocheilus Lineatus - there seem to be no major aggression problems. I've also attached a photo of the entire tank - any potential causative agents you can see (sorry about the shocking quality of the photos - best I could do)?
<Very nice>
She looks to be in the early stages (spots on pectoral fins and just a few on caudal fin only) - going by Bob's article I expect to see the spots spread to her body over the next 24 hours. Today has seen no observable flashing, clamped fins, heaving gill-pumping or lethargy. She's eating normally as well.
Tank vitals: 15 gallons, 28.5-29.5 deg C (Singapore ambient room temp!), pH 7.0-7.2, NH3 0, NO2 0, NO3 10-20 (half-way between 2 colours on the chart), GH 4, KH 3.
Timeline of events:
7 days ago - acquired female (one day after male) and placed in tank. Male chased occasionally for 1-2 days but then settled down.
5 days ago - swapped 2 Ctenopoma acutirostre (went into 55G display tank) out and put in 1 Aplocheilus Lineatus (was fin-nipping gouramis in display tank). Kribs seem to hold seniority in tank - Killifish stays well away.
Put clean coffee cups in to add extra caves.
4 days ago - Kribs both becoming less timid and seen out of hiding more often.
1 day ago - added a few V. spiralis and C. thalictroides plants from display tank, plus added spray bar to established low-output internal filter (agitation/aeration).
I have 2 points of confusion if I may:
1. With my tank temp (28.5-29.5 deg C), I'm a little surprised that the Ich has made an appearance at all.
2. Why did the Ich take so long to appear after placement of female Krib in tank? Bob's article says a few days at most to see it turn up in new arrivals.
<There's variation in the onset, causes... and who knows where the infestation came from? I'd be keeping an eye on the Ctenopomas wherever they are>
Please critique my intended course of action (in order).
- Tomorrow: 25% water change and then dose tank with 2g/L salt (table salt will do? Or do I need FW aquarium salt from an LFS?).
<Mmm, synthetic seasalt... None other. Please read here:
- Leave salt in tank for 7 days and re-assess at this point.
- Assuming all is well, wait a further 7 days before introducing Krib pair to display tank.
<I'd also be raising the temperature a bit higher; to 30-31 C>
One last thing - from reading WWM, live plants and male Krib/killifish will handle this treatment?
<Most plant species offered in the trade, yes, and the fishes for sure. See the WWM Brackish section re>
Sorry for the long, rambling email but I've never seen any disease in either my q. tank or display tank, so I'm appropriately naive and worried.
<Oh, and most importantly, read here:
Thanks SOOOOO much all,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: P. pulcher in quarantine has Ich... but a little confused? 11/27/11
Thanks so much for your help Bob and the extra link directions.
<Welcome Dunc>
Today I did a 30% water change, then raised tank temp to a steady 30 deg C, then added 2g/L sea salt. The Ich on the female has not progressed further, and the other two fish in the tank are still showing no symptoms.
The 2 Ctenopomas went into the display tank at the school I teach at 5 days ago - I won't get a look at them until Monday, but on Friday they were all clear and feeding well. Will check ALL fish in display tank fastidiously on Monday nonetheless.
<I take it this/they are C. acutirostre; one of my faves>
As an interesting aside, the female Krib with the Ich was observed doing a slightly bent body 'shimmy' in front of the male about an hour ago - isn't this the pre-cursor to mating/reproduction?
<Can be... as well as territorial display et al.>
I know Kribs reproduce readily in aquaria, but 1 week after moving into a new tank and with one of them having Ich?
Thanks so much again Bob, and I'll provide an update on recovery or otherwise in due course.
<Thank you>
<And you; BobF>
Re: P. pulcher in quarantine has Ich... but a little confused? 12/2/11

Hey Bob/crew,
<Msieu Duncan>
I'm providing promised Ich recovery update herewith.
The female Krib has been clear of Ich symptoms for two days now, and neither of the other fish in the tank ever showed symptoms. So a good news story it seems - the 'ol salt/heat for Ich does it again!!
Now I'm pondering how/when to scale back treatment and ultimately introduce the Krib pair safely into my 55 gallon main tank safely. Below is a possible plan (retrospectively starting at first sign of Ich infestation).
Fri 25th Nov - Ich first noticed (on pelvic fins only), wrote to WWM.
Sat 26th Nov - treatment started:30% water change, heat raised to 30 deg C, 2g/L sea salt added.
Wed 30th Nov - Ich symptoms gone, having never gotten worse than when first noticed on 25th Nov.
From now I'm thinking the following - too soon? Do I need to slowly dilute the salt content of the water with small water changes, or just plonk the kribs from 2 g/L salt in the quarantine tank to 0 g/L salt in the main tank?
<Better to dilute... to less than 1 g/L>
Sat 3rd Dec - water change to dilute salt, drop tank temp to 29 deg C.
Sun 4th Dec - drop tank temp to 28 deg C (normal tank temp here in Singapore).
Mon 5th Dec - introduce kribs to main tank.
So, 8 days from beginning treatment to effectively ceasing treatment, and 5 days from seeing no more symptoms to ceasing treatment. Am I moving too fast? Thanks so much crew - the greatest.
<I'd stretch the period out to two weeks myself>
P.S. I see you guys/girls seem to recommended half-dosage for liquid fertilisers in planted tanks (I use Seachem Flourish comprehensive). Why is this (control algal growth, plants don't need any more than this)? Thanks!
<As you surmise, many folks are prone to over-dosing... esp. due to miscalculation of actual water volume... Many tanks are such and such gallon "style" rather than real water capacity; minus displacement for substrate et al... Better too little than too much in these cases fert. wise. Bob Fenner>

Re: P. pulcher in quarantine has Ich... but a little confused? Other hlth. issue/damage 11/28/11
Hey there Bob/whomever else may answer this,
<Back with you D>
Right so the Ich on the female Krib seems to be receding already (only a few spots left on each pelvic fin) after only 2 days of treatment but now another problem seems to have cropped up.
As per photos, the female Krib now appears to have mechanical damage to her mandibles/mouthparts. I don't believe there's dislocation, although certain angles have me a little worried (like the photo called "krib4.jpg").
I've not seen her fighting with either the male Krib or Aplocheilus Lineatus she shares the 15G quarantine tank with (not that this means it's not happening!). Is it possible this damage is as a result of the substantial gravel moving/spitting she and the male indulge in, or something else I haven't thought of? The male Krib shows a vastly reduced version of the same damage.
Should I just "wait-and-see" on this, or take some proactive action?
<I would do the former... NOT treat>
Cheers and thanks so much for again fielding my fishy issues,
P.S. Checked the display tank with the two C. acutirostre and not a hint of Ich,
on the bushfish or any other of the inhabitants. Will continue to monitor carefully. As you (Bob) seem to have been, I was taken by the C acutirostre as soon as I saw pictures, as since getting my two 5cm baby fish, I am becoming obsessed. I find them to be fascinating, amazing fish in all respects.
<Ahh, me too. Cheers, BobF>

Ich Quarantine 8/9/11
<Hi there Alyssa>
Last month, I decided I was going to upgrade fish tanks, going from a Marineland 5 gallon to a Marineland 12 gallon. The 5 gallon housed my three-year-old ADF, Simon. After setting up the 12 gallon, I let it run for two weeks before moving Simon into it,
<Along w/ some olde water, substrate, filter media I hope/trust>
and decided to keep the 5 gallon running.
I also decided to buy neon tetras for the new tank.
<Mmm, Characins/oids really don't like "new systems">
It has been a week since I bought the fish, and the tetras have been dying left and right. Now only two tetras remain, and I am fairly certain one has Ich. I just noticed tonight the tetra has beige-colored granules on his body. Depending on where the tetra is in the tank, the granules are either noticeable or they aren't.
So here are my questions.
I have read ADF's are sensitive to Ich medication. Is it better to relocate Simon to the 5 gallon, while I try to treat the Ich, or to move the tetras into the 5 gallon?
<Yes I would>
Do I move both tetras, or only the infected one?
<Move the ADF, leave all else in the 12, treat>
If I move Simon, how can I make sure I am not somehow also transporting the parasite to the quarantine tank?
<Yes, but will die off in a few weeks for lack of a suitable host>
Will Simon be all right in the bare 5 gallon for the amount of time it takes to remove the Ich from the 12 gallon?
What is the best approach to removing the Ich?
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above, particularly re "sensitive fishes"... Likely a thermal approach alone will work here>
This is my first time dealing with Ich and I'm a little freaked, thus all the questions.
<No worries.>
Thanks so much for your help,
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Ich on Red Tail Shark Fish 4/30/10
I really hope you can help me. I have been researching this topic for a while. My roommate initially purchased 2 red tailed sharks (he didn't realize how incompatible they would be).
<Psychotically incompatible.>
As the little one (female by the gray stripe on her belly) was getting picked on, we moved her to a 5 gallon tank until we could get something larger and I took responsibility for her.
<Far, far too small. This species is difficult to maintain in tanks below 55 gallons.>
I purchased a powder blue Gourami to keep her company and they were getting along really well.
<Not for long.>
I would like to add that we are fairly new to the fish experience.
<Read a book. Web sites are fine, and some, like this one, are written by experts. But a lot of information out there is variable in quality, so having at least one good beginner's book with you will save much time, money and lives. Do see here:
But I have spent countless hours researching my fish as well as my roommate's fish and have also contacted almost all the pet stores near my area multiple times for advice on various things regarding them. Anyways, since we didn't really know about the cycling thing when he got his fish, we have had to cycle our tanks with fish in it.
<Usually not a good idea.>
We have purchased a lot of different fish care products over the month or so since we started doing this, including... Aquasafe, Stability, Prime, PH Neutral, Tetra Safe Start, Stress Coat / Stress Zyme, CopperSafe, Quick Cure, and Nox Ich. Here is what led to where I am now and my concern...
Roughly 2 weeks ago is when this all started, my blue dwarf Gourami died.
<Not surprised. Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia) are very bad choices for most beginners. They appeal because they are bright and shiny, but in terms of quality they are poor, and there are lots of health problems with the species.>
I am not sure if it was because I used tap water, when I had been using strictly filtered water before, or if it was because my roommate removed the filter without telling me.
<"Filtering" tap water is neither here not there, and mineral-free water is lethal in the long term. You absolutely must learn about water chemistry and water quality. By default, unsoftened tap water is best, treated with appropriate water conditioner to remove chlorine, chloramine, copper and ammonia. The aquarium needs a heater and a filter.>
I could tell he was have trouble breathing but was not in time to prevent his death. They had been together for a little over a week up to that point. I should also mention we didn't know anything about testing the water, but I had gotten into the habit of doing a 15 - 25% water change everyday (because my tank went from being crystal clear to cloudy / smelly).
<How was it filtered? And if less than 20 gallons, you'd be hard pressed maintaining good water quality with these two species together.>
Previously, because my roommate's tank had ich (he has 3 Bala sharks and the other red tail), we had used quick cure with a 25% water change everyday to no avail. We switched to CopperSafe, which had been recommended to us by the PetSmart employees and after researching the positive results, decided on that. It worked great in his tank, so as a preventative measure, I used it in the 5 gallon tank as well. It killed my plant (I forgot to remove it / didn't realize I needed to) and the dead needles fell into the water even though some of the plant seemed like it
was still going), but my grass survived.
<Dead needles? What sort of plant has needles? You aren't making any sense here. Dechlorinator shouldn't kill plants. Most beginners get suckered into buying non-aquatic plants that die anyway. Again, reading is crucial; as a
beginner, the value of books CANNOT be overstated. Buy no plant you don't recognise from your aquarium book. About 50% of the plants on sale in the average PetSmart-type pet store are NOT aquatic and WILL NOT live underwater.>
So after my Gourami died, a combination of things happened. My red tail shark refused to come out of her cave. I didn't see her (except could sometimes see her lurking in her cave) for about 2 days.
<Likely poor water quality.>
I tried to entice her with shrimp brine but that didn't work either. She wouldn't eat at all.
<Which, as any book will tell you, tends to imply you have problems with water quality.>
After 2 days I finally coaxed her out of her cave and to my surprise and horror she had turned gray all over and her tail was white almost transparent, but the worst part was all the ich spots I noticed all over her tail and bottom fins (or whatever it is called that she uses to swim around). That was when I realized that while doing water changes (one time up to a 50% water change after my Gourami passed on), I was not retreating with the CopperSafe. I immediately retreated with a 1/2 to 3/4 treatment.
I also borrowed my roommate's heater to increase the temperature of her water to 82 degrees.
<Did you not have a heater before? What part of the phrase "tropical fish" don't you understand? The "tropical" part means they need a heater, and the "fish" part means they need good, clean water conditions.>
For a while after that, when she would leave the cave on her own, she would hide behind my carbon filter (I have a Penn Plax for 10 gallon tank that suction cups to the inside of the tank) or heater but she would stay absolutely still at the bottom of the tank.
<I bet.>
Though I didn't mention this before, my roommate gave me a plant from his tank that my red tail use to munch on all the time. What we didn't realize is that the plant had also died because of the CopperSafe and was in fact responsible for the nasty smell I mentioned earlier.
<Actually, I don't think the copper medication has anything to do with the dead plant, and the smell is surely caused by something else. Dead plants have little to no odour because they contain so little protein. Ever smelled a compost heap? Actually smells quite nice and earthy. But bacteria, decaying food and fish faeces can, will smell quite bad.>
We promptly discarded it. Also, we realized that we had not siphoned the gravel (at all) since we started our tanks.
<In a filtered tank, all you should need to do is stir the gravel every couple of weeks. If the gravel is getting dirty, either your filter is woefully underpowered or you're massively overfeeding the fish.>
We did all those things and even managed to get test kits / one for ammonia and another to test everything else. Our ammonia was relatively low about 5(but we knew it should be 0), nitrite and nitrates were a little high
(Sorry but I do not really remember the exact levels they were back then).
It was at this time that we started using Stability and Prime (shortly thereafter a 5X treatment to bring down the nitrite levels with every water change).
<I don't think you understand what these products are for. Adding water conditioner makes tap water safe. That's it. Nothing, repeat, NOTHING, you add by way of chemicals removes the need for good filtration and weekly
water changes.>
After about a week or so, my red tail finally started eating again and even managed to have a little pink / red in her tail again, however, her ich spots remained almost unchanged. I also noticed that she had somehow managed to tear a piece of her tail. At about this time, a friend of ours gave us a really good deal on a 29gal tank, complete with power filter, liquid testing kit (though it was a saltwater tank he had previously), and heater.
<I cannot believe you didn't have either a heater or filter before. Crazy. Please read something before buying pets. Imagine I bought a cat, but had no idea it needed a warm bed and meaty cat food. So instead of these things
I kept in a cold basement with only concrete to lie on, and I fed it grass. When it got sick, I just ignored it, and hoped for the best. I'm sure you'd call that animal abuse, right? That is what you're doing here. Read:
Unfortunately, it took us a week to set it up because we had to get a hood and a sturdy surface to put it on. The good news is by this point, my tank was ammonia and nitrite free with only low levels of nitrate. Chlorine free as well. All levels are what they should be.
<Which are...?>
But I am still keeping an eye on them.
I managed to get the new 29 gal tank set up (It has only been about 4 days now or so) and water levels seem to be maintaining that of the 5 gallon.
No ammonia, Nitrite or Nitrates. Chlorine free, Ph is a little high around 7.8.
<Don't worry about pH.
Do read, understand about water chemistry.>
I also treated the new tank with Prime, Stress Coat and Stress Zyme, CopperSafe, Ph Neutral.
<Do not mess about with pH. You are not nearly comfortable enough even with the basics of fishkeeping. Messing about with pH will simply kill your fish. Concentrate on temperature, water quality and maintaining a steady water chemistry ONLY. In other words, keep the temperature at around 25 C/77 F for this species and most other tropical fish, keep ammonia and nitrite levels at zero, and make sure water chemistry stays about the same from week to week. That's it.>
Apart from the power filter, I also have the Penn Plax filter for additional filtration and oxygen. When I finally put her in her new tank she was extremely happy and swimming absolutely everywhere. I was so happy. She even seemed like she was getting a little bigger. I should mention that my roommate's red tail has already gained a couple of inches.
But I was still concerned about the ich.
<"Concerned"? You do understand Ick can kill fish, right...?>
It looked unchanged. In the other tank, the CopperSafe started working right away and the white spots became smaller and clearer until they fell right off. But with my red tail, it is still white. I think, though I am not certain, that there could be less of them. I had noticed that she was having problems swimming. Previously, she wouldn't be able to flap one of her fins (presumably because of the ich) and the she would try to swim up and end up floating back to the bottom. However, she does not seem to be having those problems anymore. But her tail is still literally covered with ich spots, though it does not seem to be affecting her as it did when she was in the 5 gallon tank. I also went and purchased Aquarium salt and that has not helped either. For a while there she actually looked a little
<Fish don't shrink.><<Mmm, actually... they can at times, deprived, poor conditions. RMF>>
Through my frustration and heartbreak, I went to my local pet shop, who recommended Nox-ich to me and said that the ich spots should literally fall off in 2 days or so (even though it is a 3 day treatment at 1/2 dosage because she is a scaleless fish).
<Again, do read and try to understand what you read. Ick is a parasite with a distinctive life cycle. At tropical temperatures, the cysts stay on the fish for a few days but invariably burst as they release the "spores" of the next generation. These "spores" swim about for a day, and then find a fish to latch onto, perhaps the same one, perhaps another. Whether you treat with Ick medication or salt, it ONLY kills these "spores", not the white cysts. Finally, Red-tailed Black Sharks are NOT scaleless, and whoever told you that shouldn't be trusted to offer any more veterinarian advice.>
They also said I could use it in conjunction with the CopperSafe but to take out my carbon filter. I took out both (but left it running for oxygen along with an airstone where the PennPlax normally is). So now it has been only 2 days, but her ich is still unchanged.
<See above. You're medicating the "spores", not the cysts.>
Not only that but now she looks even smaller than she usually does. Her color keeps fluctuating when I turn on the light.
<Normal to a degree, but stress will cause similar.>
She will be gray with her tail almost white. After a few minutes though, she turns darker and her tail gets pink. She is actually scavenging now, where she wasn't doing that in the 5 gallon (over the past couple weeks).
She is still active though and will rarely retreat to her cave. Sometimes though she will stay up by the heater and just look even when I try to feed her. I did reduce the heat in the tank to 79 yesterday. I vary her diet.
80% of the time I feed her fish flakes and 20% of the time Shrimp brine. I feed her max 3 times a day. (I like to feed shrimp brine to her especially after a water change because, I don't know mentally, to make it easier for her and stress her out less?)
So I am hoping that you can please please please shed some light on this ich situation. I am so frustrated.
<Please read, learn.>
I have spent literally hours and hours doing research on ich and ich treatments and fish diseases. What am I doing wrong?
<Many, many things, mostly based on a lack of planning, reading.>
Is there another product I should try?
<Your brain. Amazingly, it's the single best tool for successful fishkeeping. All you need to do is visit the public library or bookstore, find a book on aquariums for beginners, and have a read. The basics you need are incredibly simple.>
Thank you in advance for one... taking the time to read through all of this and two... for any future insight you can provide me.
<Always glad to help. Forgive my slightly sarcastic tone but I've only had one cup of coffee so far, and that means my patience is a little limited. But better you get snappy helpful advice than kind rubbish, that's what I always say.>
<Good luck, Neale.>

Re: Ich on Red Tail Shark Fish 5/1/10
Hello Neale,
<Hello Trisha,>
Thank you for your response. First I do realize that I wrote a lot of information. There are just a couple of things I would like to clarify.
First of all, I would like to impress upon you the fact that the red tail shark was not my fish!
I saw that RTBS get picked on and did the most humane thing I could think of which was to get her away from a bad situation and to take responsibility for her, as my roommate didn't care that she would get picked on until she died.
<Understandable. Unfortunately, "rescuing" fish is a somewhat problematic action. Simply because a fish is removed from one bad situation doesn't automatically mean it's going into a better situation. In some instances, returning the fish to the pet store, or else euthanasia, are the best ways forward.>
My roommate who favors the bigger, more aggressive red tail thought the more "humane" thing to do is flush her down the toilet because she is sick.
<Obviously cruel and unethical.>
I was against fish keeping from the beginning as we have limited funds.
But after deciding to care for this red tail, I had no control of anything.
The tanks and filters, etc... belong to my roommate and he did what he wanted with them. I was fortunate to get the 5 gallon tank and filter, even if it was temporary. I purchased gravel and a cave and water conditioners and such to try to create the best environment for her given that she was in such a small tank.
Forgive me for not making this clear in my initial email, but the Penn Plax carbon filter that I have was in the 5 gallon tank with her.
<Carbon is actually of relatively limited value. I'd argue none at all. In any case, it's biological filtration that's required, plus enough water to dilute the wastes produced by the fish.>
It actually has a 10 gallon capacity (which I had to replace as it only has a shelf life of 2 - 4 weeks). Even though I did not have a heater (just a thermostat), when I performed water changes I used lukewarm water to keep the temperature constant between 77 -79 until I spotted the ich and had to convince my roommate to lend me his heater to raise it to 82.
<See, even if you add warm water, you're likely exposing the fish to copper from the hot water tank in your home. You need to make sure your water conditioner removes copper. The water cools down anyway, so before too long it'll be at room temperature anyway, so adding warm water isn't going to ever remove the need for a heater.>
I had to buy him another heater and am now allowed to keep that heater for my 29 gal tank.
<A step in the right direction.>
Also, the CopperSafe killed the plants. There is a warning on the bottle that states that it will kill most aquatic plants.
<Seriously, if it kills plants, you shouldn't be using it! It can, will do far worse to your biological filter.>
"Dead Needles" was the closest description I could come up with they were not hard but soft and judging by the brownish color of the plant and all the "dead needles" falling from it, I am assuming that means it was dead.
<Probably, though a great many plants sold to inexperience aquarists aren't true aquatics, and will die no matter what you do short of lifting them out of the tank and planting them in soil.>
After researching Gourami care, I found they like big plants that hang over the top of the tank and when I went to PetSmart that's what they gave me and actually both my red tail and Gourami loved that plant, until it died that is.
<Indeed. This is all fairly trivial stuff. While it's good to make an effort, these sorts of things are icing on the cake. Space, water quality, heater, correct water chemistry are the things that matter.>
After reading all of your responses, I have to say that I am extremely disappointed.
<Sorry to hear that.>
I understand some of your criticisms and such because I had to learn the hard way, as I am sure you can understand after reading the rest. But in all honesty, I am surprised that you, as an expert, had not one piece of advice to give me regarding how to rid her of these ich "cysts".
<As I stated, you don't eliminate the cysts. They're inside the fish. You can't do anything at all about them. What you do is wait for them to burst, and then kill the free-living stage. This is done either using the salt/heat method or a commercial Ick medication. These are described in great depth elsewhere on WWM.>
I am not sure if you think I am taking the easy way out by attempting to ask for your assistance.
<Not at all.>
I will assure you again, even after reading the multitude of times you mention reading a beginner's book, that I have done nothing but read everything on red tail sharks that I have been able to find, there is just limited information online.
<As I say, you need books. People who write books are experts, and the stuff they write is edited. Online sources are highly variable.>
I have read about what they like, i.e. caves and such, what they eat, temperature, preferred Phs, things of that nature.
Along with that I have read many forums and guides online about starting a tank, cycling, etc... But the real things I am interested in is how their behavior reflects what is going on with them. Why is she unhappy?
<Almost certainly chronically poor water conditions. Until you tell me what the nitrite level is, or the ammonia level, and you don't tell me what the water chemistry is, or the water temperature, I can't say anything other than that.>
How can I make her happier?
<Epalzeorhynchos bicolor requires water with 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, pH around 6.5-7.5, hardness 5-20 degrees dH. Water temperature should be middling, 24-26 C is fine. It is an active and territorial fish that requires a large aquarium, realistically 55 gallons, though you might get by with less if you don't mind keeping it on its own. This species is extremely hostile towards fish it deems territorial threats, usually other minnow or shark type fish, but sometimes other fish as well. Aquarium decorations should include at least one cave, together with tall plants and rocks that the fish can "graze" while nibbling on green algae. Diet should be mixed, with things like algae wafers and bloodworms being most appreciated.>
That is my main concern and to be honest with you, I don't care if that makes you think that I am an irresponsible fish owner.
<Far from it.>
As I mentioned earlier, I have a limited income, I am on unemployment and receive approximately $250 dollars a week,
<Frankly, more than me most weeks! Being a freelance writer is not known for its great rate of pay...>
and I have already spent over $200 just to do what I can to keep this fish from dying and to give her the best possible environment.
I was actually relieved to find a website that has dedicated a section to Bala and red tail shark diseases, because I was hoping to get some sound advice about how to make and keep her happy, starting with how to get rid of these ich spores as you called them.
<As you did.>
I really regret that the best advice you could give me was "read a book".
<Because Ick is a disease caused by two things: environmental stress and careless introduction of new, i.e., unquarantined, fish. Ick is easy to treat if the conditions in the tank are optimal, but if the fish is stressed, e.g., too cold, then all the cures in the world won't help.
Really is as simple as this.>
guess that I can be content that while I am reading this great "book" on how I should raise fish, and while she dies from ich, that maybe by the time I finish, the "expert" that wrote that book will have the insight I need to tell me how to prevent that same thing from happening.
<Look, the issue here is that without understanding, good intentions don't count for much in the real world. Looking after pet animals requires acceptance of a certain number of non-negotiable demands. If this was a pet dog, you'd understand it needs an hour or two exercise a day, a warm bed, regular visits to vet, socialisation with family members, and so on. Fish aren't anything like as demanding or expensive, which is why they're so popular with people living in apartments and on limited incomes. But there are some things you can't get around. In the case of tropical fish like Epalzeorhynchos bicolor, that includes things like good water quality, the right size tank, and the right water temperature. What a book will do is lay these things out fair and square. I'm volunteering here to help out on "road apple duty", trying to help people fix the problems after they've occurred. But nine times out of ten fish problems are the sorts of things
that are easily prevented.>
Sorry about my sarcastic tone, I have had no coffee today and not a lot of sleep because I am so worried (or perhaps not concerned enough) about my red tail.
<I understand and sympathise, and believe me, I wouldn't be volunteering for an hour a day here if I didn't share your feelings for pet animals and have my own desire to help others. So forgive me if I seem cranky.>
You know, I should also mention that that was really insensitive of you to suggest that I am not concerned enough about the ich.
<The lack of a heater in the aquarium, plus no real mention of water quality suggested you were focusing on the wrong issues. Let's be crystal clear here: I'm not saying you're a bad person or an animal abuser, but I am saying that these are all simple issues that would have been revealed by an afternoon spent reading a good fish book for beginners.>
Do you really think I spent an hour or more writing this email and the last and researching all this, if it wasn't my absolute top priority?
<Good intentions are one thing, but practical help is what matters. Fish couldn't care less about being loved, any more than any other animal. But what does matter is that you provide the environmental conditions they require.>
I have also similarly posted things on different forums with no success, hence, I turned to you as the expert! Thank you anyways for your time.
<Always happy to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Ich on Red Tail Shark Fish 5/2/10
Hello again Neale,
Sorry if I wasn't clear enough in my earlier emails when I said my water conditions are where they need to be. Let me clarify...
Ammonia is 0
Nitrite is 0
<Both fine.>
Nitrate - 0-5.0 ppm
Chlorine - 0
Water hardness - between softness and hard - 75 - 150ppm
<Relatively low, and fine for this species and indeed most tropical fish except perhaps livebearers.>
Alkalinity - 120 - 180ppm
Ph - 7.8 (this fluctuates though not by much, but that's why I started using the Ph neutral, because from what I have read RTBS prefer Ph closer to neutral 7, though I have not been able to achieve that, I have been able to get it down to 7.2)
<Don't mess with the pH. You can't lower it in a sensible, stable way without reducing carbonate hardness/alkalinity, so much better to leave it where it is.>
The reason I have not mentioned much on water chemistry is because once having achieved what I believe to be optimal water quality, I have been testing it regularly to make sure they stay that way. Of course that was my primary concern from the beginning, but as these levels have stayed constant, I see no reason to think there is anything wrong with the quality of the water in my tank.
Also, you have kept mentioning water conditioners. I use prime ( I believe I mentioned that a few times), especially when doing water changes, but as I live in Niagara falls, ny and our water quality is not fit for
humans, I would hate to subject the fish to that as well, hence I use filtered water.
<Tap water, if safe to drink, should be fine for fish. Don't use water softeners like those fitted in homes to remove lime scale from appliances. These add sodium to replace the calcium, and that's bad for fish. In fact, I doubt your drinking water as supplied is actually "unfit" for human consumption, even if it doesn't taste that great. There are a billion people on this planet who genuinely don't have access to drinking water from a tap; you aren't one of those people. Now, I mention this because a key to fishkeeping is regular water changes, and if fussing about with the tap water via filters, RO devices and so on makes water changes expensive and fiddly, you're not likely to do so many water changes.>
I try to use warm water so that I don't shock my fish / overly stress them, when doing water changes. I have yet to see any drawbacks to doing this, even though I now use a heater as well.
Someone did mention to me that having my nitrates at 0 means my tank has not cycled yet. Is there any truth to this? I thought no nitrates was good.
<Yes and no. You can have zero nitrates because the filter isn't cycled, but you can also have zero nitrates because the test kit isn't very accurate or isn't being used properly, because plants/algae are removing
the nitrate, or because there's nitrate removal by anaerobic bacteria somewhere in the tank. So it's complex. Oh, the thing about test kits and using them properly isn't a dig at you. Some types are notoriously inaccurate, especially dip strips, and detecting the colours on the chart does depend on your colour perception, which varies from person to person.>
I just wanted you to know that my Red tail is now in the process of shedding her ich spots.
I realized what the problem was. It was actually something you said that help me quite a bit in this. You mentioned that Red Tails are not scaleless as the pet store told me. I realized you were right and they are
idiots. I read so many conflicting things, like someone that wrote they are catfish and scaleless on one site relating to the same problem!
<Catfish are indeed scaleless, and even the armoured ones have plates of skin rather than scales. But most other so-called scaleless fish are actually species with modified or very small scales, as with loaches.>
This confuses new fish owners (I, in fact wrote to that site and asked them to correct that info!) I know that they are minnows and in fact have scales.
I royally screwed up when I used the Nox-ich. See I misunderstood the directions.
I thought I was supposed to treat once for 3 days wait a day then 3 more as needed. Which now that I thought about it doesn't make any sense. I was suppose to treat the water for 3 full days and not treat for a day and continue for 3 more days and so forth. Also because I thought she was scaleless, I only used a half dosage which was why it didn't seem work at all.
<Often doesn't, hence the recommended dosage.>
Last night, I gave her the first full dose, she wasn't too happy about it at first, but this morning almost all the spots are gone and her tail is getting redder by the minute!
I still plan on doing a water change in the next day or two. Put the filters back in for one day and retreating again.
<You should have the biological filter running all day, every day. Carbon is something you can throw out. Least of your problems here is the build up of organic acids that carbon can help with. Concentrate on biological filtration.>
I was told a week minimum.
<I would leave the filter running throughout treatment. The filter is the life support system, and switching it off because you're medicating makes no sense to me. Look, if you unplug the biological filter because you're
worried the bacteria will die, then they're going to die anyway because they die within about half an hour or so of the time water stops running through the filter. If you leave the biological filter, the medication may
kill some bacteria, but it won't kill them all unless you're really unlucky. As for carbon, you don't need it: chuck it out.>
So now that you are up to date on all of this, I would like to thank you again for your time. I was actually moved by what you wrote about reading a book, that I was prepared to go down to the library yesterday and get a book, but they were closed. So I plan on doing that today!
<Very good.>

Bad Quality Water and ICH -- 04/22/10
I was wondering if you can help! I have a 46 Gallon Freshwater tank with 2 Pictus Catfish,
<Schooling... will not settle down as just two specimens.>
1 Tin Foil Barb,
<Also gregarious; too big for this tank.>
2 Giant Danios,
<Another schooling fish...>
1 Pleco,
<Much too big for this tank...>
and 1 Rainbow Shark. I have had the tank for almost 2 months which was an upgrade from a 10 Gallon tank which I have since given away.
<I hope you didn't have all these fish in 10 gallons!>
Last Saturday I did a 20% water change and on Monday I noticed 2 of my fish with very minimal ICH spots on their fins.
<There's really no "minimal" here. Ick is like pregnancy; it's either there or it isn't. So just as you can't become slightly pregnant, even seemingly minimal Ick problems are serious. The standard heat/salt method should work
well here, though you might choose to use commercial medications, with the understanding that Pimelodus catfish can react badly to copper and formalin.>
I immediately went to an aquarium store with a water sample. The Ammonia was high (0.50)
<Indeed, potentially lethal.>
and the PH was between 6.8 and 7.0. I think they tested the N's (sp?) levels.
<Nitrite? Nitrate?>
They didn't tell me how off the N's were only that I saw that the water turned dark purple. I was told that I cleaned the tank way too early in the cycle and that I could have wiped out the "good" bacteria in the process
<Unlikely if all you dead was clean the tank. The filter bacteria are in the filter, and couldn't care less if you stuck the rocks and gravel through a dishwasher!>
therefore I was given Nutrafin Cycle to add the "good" bacteria back in
<Hmm... a quick sale made right there.>
and Quick Cure for the ICH.
<I hope you told them about the Pimelodus catfish. Quick Cure contains Formalin and Malachite Green, both of which can be toxic to some catfish. In fact they're toxic to everything, but they're more likely to stress catfish, loaches and some other "sensitive" fish that the more tolerant barbs and tetras. Malachite Green can stress filter bacteria and plants, and Formalin even more so. Formalin is recommended for use only in quarantine tanks where Zeolite is being used to remove ammonia.>
On Monday evening I took the carbon out of the filter added both products to the tank,
raised the temp slowly to 82 as instructed and followed with 2 more days of ICH treatment of 1 drop per 2 gallons as well as had the lights off since and as of tonight all of my fish with the exception of 2 have developed ICH and the ones who already had it are infested with the white spots although you would not be able to tell by looking at them because they are swimming around the tank and eating as if nothing was wrong.
The levels of the water are still off as well
<Will be if it is still cycling...>
and the water is very cloudy which is a problem I have been having since setting up the tank.
<Common in tanks that are cycled, over-stocked...>
I do not have a separate QT tank. Please Help!! Am I doing anything wrong?
<More "everything" than "anything". Too many fish in a too small tank... the schooling fish are in the wrong numbers to be happy, so are stressed and therefore have weaker immune systems... choice of medications are going to hold back filter cycling...>
I read somewhere that Quick Care destroys the "good" bacteria in the cycle.
<Can certainly do so. Always compare the ingredients on a medication against your preferred fish health book. I like the "A-Z of Tropical Fish Diseases & Health Problems" and the "Interpet Manual of Fish Health", but there are others. All good books will state clearly what the risks of any given medication might be.>
If this is true than adding Nutrafin Cycle will not help the cycle?
<Sounds pretty daft.>
If not what else can I do?
<Hope for the best really. You've created a mess, and until the medication has run its course, you can't do water changes. If this was me, I'd put the Quick Cure down, do a big water change, 25-50%, and then treat using the
old salt/heat method.
I'd then do 10% water changes every day or two while the filter was cycling, remembering to replace old water with appropriately salted water so the salt concentration stays the same [i.e., add to the new bucket of water the right amount of salt for that bucket of water, not the whole aquarium]. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
Thank you for the quick response!! Ok lets see if I can answer some of your comments: Lets start with the Fish, I never had these in a 10 gallon,
<I didn't think so, but I thought it worth mentioning for the sake of the other readers.>
I used to have some of my smaller 10 gallon fish in this new 46 Gallon just to cycle and I have since taken them out gradually when introducing the bigger fish for fear they will be eaten. All are doing great and are in a new home!....All of my 46 gallon fish size are currently in the range of 2-4 inches and was told the max they will grow is up to 8 inches with the exception of the Tin Foil Barb which is only 4 inches at the moment.
<These get massive. Dinner plate size. And will do so within a couple of years.>
I have somebody who will be taking him once he gets too big.....I plan to get more Pictus Catfish and Danios but I wanted to slowly add them in, instead of all at once.
My Pleco is a Bushy Nose Pleco and was told he will only grow a max of 4-5 inches. (I should've been more clearer in my email) which he already is about 3 1/2 inches at the moment.....
<Right, that's Ancistrus, the Bristlenose Plec. A good choice for a tank this size.>
As far as the ICH, I woke up this morning and the fish seem to be doing great!
The spots seem to be falling off of the ones who just got them.
<They don't fall off. Remember, the medication DOES NOT treat the white spots on the fish. These mature and burst by themselves. When they burst, they seem to have gone away. But [a] the wound can become a site of
secondary infection; and [b] the free-living stages that emerge from the cysts are now swimming about the tank. That's okay, because it's the free-living stages that salt and medications treat.>
The ones who are infested with a lot of the spots are still doing great, acting normal. No new outbreaks on the ones who dont have ICH. Because I am seeing improvement should I stop the meds as you suggested and do the
salt/heat method and a 25% to 50% water change.
<If everyone seems fine now, carry on with this course of medication until completed.>
Should I gravel vac and take out fake plants and decor and rinse them really good?
<Pointless in terms of preventing/treating Ick, but as part of a monthly tank maintenance programme, go ahead.>
I also have driftwood in there. Should I take this out as well and rinse?
I have an Aqua Clear Filter with the sponge, carbon (which I took out while medicating), and BioMax (rocks in the net). I cleaned the filter last Saturday, should I clean again?
<Would tend to not wash filters more then once a month, maybe once every 6 weeks. More than that you risk doing more harm than good, unless you notice flow rate of water has dramatically dropped. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
Again WOW for the quick response!! ....Ok I will continue with the Meds treatment. I was instructed with the meds to do a 20% Water change/gravel clean on every 4th day of med treatment for 2 weeks (which is today).
Should I add salt with the new water?
<No. Use salt only as a medication with these fish, not as a regular additive.>
I already had 3 tablespoons of salt in the water already?...
<Why? Don't add salt unless you are using it as a medication. See the article to which you were directed before. Folks will sell you salt, but it doesn't necessarily do good.>
BTW I forgot to mention, I have the temp up to 84 which was a gradual increase within the past 3 days. Is it too high?
<Outside of treating Ick, yes, it's too warm. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH -- 04/22/10
The salt was due to incorrect instruction from one of the sales people when purchasing the Pictus Catfish.
<He/she said you need to add salt when keeping this species? Bizarre. It's a soft water Amazonian catfish. The use of salt plus heat is certainly a way to treat Ick or Velvet on this species, since it is sensitive to copper, formalin and malachite green. But you certainly shouldn't be adding salt to an aquarium with Pimelodus pictus on a regular basis. Are you sure you or the retailer are not confusing Pimelodus pictus with the Colombian Shark Catfish, Sciades seemanni? The two species do look similar, and Colombian Shark Catfish do indeed need brackish to marine conditions.>
I haven't added any salt but I thought that with the ICH outbreak it would be good for the fish. Ok, no more salt!... Off to do my water change. I will check in in a few days to update..Thank you so much for your quick response and assistance!!
<Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH -- 04/22/10

Later on that day I was suspicious about what the sales person has said to me about the salt for Pictus Catfish so I began to do an online research and nowhere had said that they needed brackish water so I called and they told me that the salesperson gave me the wrong info but I had already added the fish and the salt in......
So a mini update about my tank..So I did a little bit over a 20% water change/gravel cleaning and what came out was filthy brown water.
<Oh dear.>
I also discovered when removing the decorations were algae wafers that I was feeding to my Pleco. I thought he had eaten them but instead they floated underneath the decorations.
Who knows how long they have been sitting under there. Needless to say, the tank was gross! I wanted to continue cleaning but I was afraid to take too much water out so I stopped and just netted the rest of the filth floating around.
<It's well worth changing as much water as you can in situations like this, provided water chemistry and temperature of the new water is the same as the old water. If you can't be sure about water chemistry, then doing a series of 20-30% water changes a couple of hours apart is almost as good, and should minimise the fish's exposure the variations.>
Could this be a possible reason as to why my water levels became out of whack suddenly as well as the cloudy water?
<Rotting food can certainly raise ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels.>
Before purchasing the Catfish (which were the last two I purchased before ICH) I had my water levels tested and they were good hence the reason why I purchased them....Also, do fish need light?
<Depends on the fish. Cave tetras obviously don't need any! Most fish are fine with bright light provided there's some shade provided, e.g., by floating plants. Leaving the tank lights off for a few days is fine, but
any more than that and your live plants will start to suffer.>
As I stated earlier I have had the lights off for 3 days while medicating and only turn on to observe the ICH progression on the fish and to feed them (which I have only been feeding once every other day upon instruction from the aquarium place.
<The use of darkness to control certain parasites is helpful, notably with Velvet, but so far as I know it has no effect on Ick. Do remember though that this darkness needs to be absolute, i.e., a blanket over the tank, and in pitch darkness day-active fish such as barbs and cichlids cannot feed.>
Please let me know if this is ok) but I read that fish do need lights during the day.
<If treating Ick, would leave the lights on their normal setting, 12 hours on, 12 hours off. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH 4/23/10

After an extensive research on Malachite Green/Formalin and how toxic it is to myself and my fish I have decided to completely stop using Quick Cure!
<Fair enough.>
I cant believe they would sell such a toxic product. This needs to be banned!!
<Likely a matter of time. Anyone who works in science or medicine will be aware that formalin is a nasty carcinogen and generally avoided. I would expect that over time its use will become steadily more restricted.>
(note to self ..ALWAYS do an extensive research on all chemicals added to my tank before use)...
<Which is why investing in a fish health book is always wise. A used copy of something like the Interpet Manual to Fish Health would cost pennies, but will save you much time and worry in the future. Ironically perhaps, people who own and read these books tend to pre-empt fish health problems in the long term, so actually end up buying fish medications far less often.>
What are my next steps in helping my fish get through this ICH outbreak?
<Once the cycle of Ick infection/reinfection is broken, it shouldn't come back. There's no evidence it lies dormant in aquaria.>
I did 5 days with quick cure and one 20% water change, and now only two of my fish still have the spots as oppose to three. The spots do seem to be getting better on both fish.
<Maturing, bursting... not getting better. Remember this. You treat the free-living stages, not the white spots.>
My water quality is still the same, (ph is at 7.0, and ammonia is at 0.50 )
<You will need to get that ammonia level down to zero. Do what you have to do here, otherwise Finrot and other problems become serious. Don't feed the fish at all for a few days, do lots of water changes, and generally assume the tank is either overstocked, overfed, or has an immature filter. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH

Note taken..Will definitely buy the book!!....Other than no feedings how much of a water change/gravel clean can I do considering I did a 20% yesterday?
<It's best not to do more than 20-30% water changes per day, unless you absolutely must. Doing water changes this small will minimise changes in water chemistry.>
I did dose the tank today with quick cure before deciding to stop, will it be safe to put my hands in the tank?
<Yes, though you're far more likely to get salmonella from an aquarium than cancer. And that isn't very likely at all, unless you have a compromised immune system (I've drunk a gallon or two of aquarium over the years, I bet).>
Now I am really worried!!.. What about salt and high temp method for treating the tank? Will this method still be necessary because I am stopping the meds?
<If the Quick Cure worked, there's no need to use salt. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
Thank you!!....I will update in a few days.
<No problems. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
One more question, should I place the carbon back in the filter considering I still have fish affected by ICH?
<Carbon is fairly useless, so I'd always recommend using the space inside your filter for more biological media rather than carbon. But in theory, carbon can be used freely provided you aren't medicating.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH 4/26/10

Good morning,
<Afternoon here!>
I tested my water this morning and an interesting thing happened..the Nitrates went down to 10 but my PH shot up from 6.8 to 7.6. The Ammonia is still standing at 0.25. Should I be worried about the PH level?
<Perhaps. But I'd be more worried that the ammonia hasn't gone down. Do also check you're using, reading the test kits correctly. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
So I have a question that is off the topic.. I did a 20% water change today and when I was all finished I noticed one of my catfish had a red mark on his nose. Almost as if he banged into something while trying to dodge the gravel vac and hurt himself.
<Quite possibly.>
Now he is just sitting at the bottom of the tank, once in a while he will swim around low in the tank but not with the energy he normally has, but for most part he kind of stays stationary (this is not the catfish that has is ICH).
<Perhaps not, but Ick cures that contain copper, formalin and malachite green can stress/poison catfish.>
Is there something I should do, or should I just leave him alone and he will get better over time?...
<See above, and if you suspect one or other of those chemicals was used, prompt water changes to dilute such chemicals will be required.>
And on the topic of water quality, considering I just did a 20% water change how long should I wait until I test my water again?
<Whilst you're medicating and cycling the tank, doing at least an ammonia and/or nitrite test once every second day would be worthwhile. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
I stopped using the medication a few days ago so how can it be poison from the meds?
<Could be previous exposure, but only now showing the symptoms. I honestly can't possibly know. It's all about me putting possibilities in front of you, and you using observation and guesswork to try and figure out which is
most likely. If the problem was poisoning, then if you've done a few water changes, the damage should be stopped now, and the catfish will recover.>
Can the medication still be present in my tank even though I have done several 20%-30% Water changes since halting the meds?
<In theory, yes, to trace levels they may remain. But while copper can sit around in tanks for a while, the organic medications such as formalin and malachite green should break down (be metabolised by the filter bacteria) within a couple of days.>
Also I looked inside my filter (Aquaclear) and I noticed the sponge turned completely blue from the Quick Cure.
<Oh! Both methylene blue and malachite green can stain things irreversibly.
I believe Quick Cure contains the latter.>
Can this prevent the "good" bacteria from building up in my filter hence the traces of Ammonia considering Quick cure destroys the bacteria in a tank?
<Yes, malachite green can kill filter bacteria. If in doubt, replace 50% of the sponges.>
I have extra filter inserts, there is one called BioMax (which is the bag with the rocks), it says it helps enhance Ammonia and Nitrite reduction.
<These are just ceramic noodles. They're a great filter medium, and I use equivalent products all the time.>
Considering I am not adding the carbon back in again should I add the BioMax to where the carbon should go, now having two BioMax and the stained sponge?
<By all means replace the carbon with either new sponges or ceramic noodles, as you prefer.>
There is another filter insert that goes with my filter that is called Zeo Carb which is an activated carbon and Ammonia Remover all in one.
<This is just Zeolite, which removes ammonia but then needs to be replaced.>
Should I use this instead?
<No, it's fairly pointless unless you're able to use enough Zeolite, and replace that Zeolite weekly. As such, Zeolite is used mostly where biological filtration can't: quarantine tanks, hospital tanks, tanks with pH below 6.>
Any suggestions?.....By the way, I just tested my water again and my levels are as follows Ammonia still at 0.25.....PH went down to 7.0 as oppose to 7.6...and Nitrate still stands at 10. Did a 20% water change today and fed the fish very very minimal food before water change They ate everything though I dont think my cat fish ate anything today because everyone else got to it before it can float down to the bottom. They haven't eaten in two
days because I stopped daily feeding until the ammonia goes down. poor guys.
<Better they be hungry than dead. Feel free to add green foods, like a bit of cucumber, for them to nibble on. This contains minimal protein, so has little impact on water quality. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
Good morning, or rather Good afternoon to you!
<Bon après midi indeed!>
So my Catfish are doing fine today.
Both are swimming around and being themselves again, even the one that still has the ICH. He is a fighter!
<Catfish generally are; that's why we love 'em!>
His spots have multiplied though (Poor guy) but he is still eating and swimming around the tank like nothing is wrong. Wish there was something I can do for him but have to deal with the tank issue at hand!....
<You can't do anything about the cysts; all you can do is prevent a new generation infection him once these ones are done.>
Thanks again for all of your great advice!!...
<Glad to help.>
I was wondering, should I invest in a better filter?
<Never a bad idea.>
I have an AquaClear 50 which is for up to 50 gallons (I have a 46 Gallon)?
Maybe getting the one that is one up from mine?..
<When filter manufacturers class a given filter as being suitable for an aquarium of size X, I myself do by at least the next model up.>
When you say reduce the sponge by 50% what did you mean by that?
<Reduce? No, replace. You can replace up to 50% of the sponge(s) in a filter within any one six-week period. Concentrate on the concept, not the words. The biological media is the stuff you worry about. Mechanical media
(for removing silt) and chemical media (like carbon) can be replaced as often as you want. But biological media takes 6 weeks to mature, i.e., the cycling process. If you have a filter that's been matured, what we're talking about is the biological media inside it. Of that biological media, you can replace up to half without serious problems. Replace more than half and water quality will drop according to how much mature media you leave behind. If in doubt, be conservative, i.e., conserve biological media, and do nothing more than rinse it in aquarium water every month or two.>
Did you mean cut it? I do have another sponge..... By the way, I just tested my water again and my levels are as still the same, Ammonia still at 0.25...
<Will drop, but could be a false positive to chloramine. Do add water conditioner to some tap water, and see what ammonia reading you get. If you have 0.25 mg/l ammonia in the tap water after adding suitable water conditioner (for removing ammonia and chloramine, as well as chlorine) then you've solved the riddle. So also will some amine-containing medications such as Cupramine. If a false positive, you can largely ignore it, provided the fish are happy. While it'll probably do your head in -- does mine, anyway -- the folks who make AmQuel go into this at some depth, here: http://www.novalek.com/kordon/articles/KPD62.htm
Nitrates at 10... and PH is 7.0. Still cant figure out why I still have Ammonia. Maybe I will do a much larger water change and see how that goes?
Because I am trying to build up and bio load, will 50-60%% be too big?
<50% water changes are fine.>
Also I heard about a product called Prime as a water conditioner which helps remove the ammonia temporarily? Any thoughts?
<If you have ammonia in your tap water, or chloramine, then yes, adding water conditioners that remove them is wise. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH "Squawk!"
Did the tap water test with the water conditioner I use (API Stress Coat) and it came back as 0 (darn Ammonia is still a mystery!!)....... I dont remember if I ever mentioned it but the water in my tank is cloudy. Like a white Hazy color.
<This is common in "unstable" tanks, for a variety of reasons. Typically harmless bacteria or diatoms, and will settle down in time. Silt from improperly washed sand/gravel can cause similar, as can a messy tank with inadequate mechanical media (filter floss, fine sponges) or insufficient turnover.>
This is something that has never gone away since the beginning. Even now, after several water changes. Can this be a symptom of something that can possible be a reason for the Ammonia? (Just trying to look at anything and everything to solve issue) I have attached a few pictures to show you.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH 4/27/10
Hello There!
So I purchased the Aqua Clear Filter 70, which is the one up from the one I currently have, along with the insert that filters the ammonia out, as well as a bottle of Prime, came home and did a 50% water change.
I waited a few hours to check the Ammonia and ALAS I finally got better results. pH still stands at 7.0....Ammonia is in between 0 and 0.25 but more towards 0 (I tested twice)...Nitrites 0...and Nitrates 5... Should I do another water change tomorrow if I get the same results?
<By all means.>
If so how much?
<20, 25%.>
Also should I feed my fish tomorrow or hold off until I can get the ammonia down to 0 ( I did not feed them today)?
<Sure. Fish can go quite a few days without food. But a small meal won't make things much worse.>
I heard that adding a fine filter pad to my filter to trap some of the ICH spores can help in reducing the amount that may multiply once they fall off. Any thoughts?
<This won't work. The free-living stages are too numerous and too small for standard mechanical filtration to remove.>
If this is true can you recommend a fine filter pad to add to my filter?
I am tired of asking sales employees at the stores because I feel like they never give good advice and most likely I walk out with items that dont work.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
Good afternoon!
I just tested my water and things went right back to the same levels as they have been for 4 days (with the exception of the 50% water change) PH 7.0...Ammonia 0.25....Nitrates 20 and now I have Nitrites readings which
are 0.5.
<If the tank wasn't properly cycled before, and now ammonia and nitrite are going up, that's hopeful. It should mean the cycle is past the first stage, where you don't have enough of the bacteria that convert ammonia into
nitrite. With luck, the ammonia will drop down to zero within the next few days, and nitrite will rise and then fall down to zero within a week or so.>
The only thing that changed is that my water is not cloudy anymore.
All the fish are doing great.
<Also good.>
The water doesn't seem to be affecting them. The catfish that has the ICH is now completely covered in the ICH but is still doing good.
<If he's covered in white spots, that's not good, and if there are more than there were seven days ago, then you likely didn't break the Ick parasite life cycle. You absolutely must do this!>
I dont know where to go from here?? These levels are not moving? Should I continue doing 50% water changes on a daily basis or a 20% to 30% until I am Cycled?
<Yep. If you cycle with fish, then unfortunately water changes are required.>
or should I wait a day so the bacteria can build up?
<Don't have any choice here; if ammonia and nitrite rise to the levels that would speed up cycling best, they'd also kill the fish. Fishless cycling methods aim for around 3-5 mg/l ammonia, but that's lethal to fish. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
how would you suggest breaking the ICH cycle..heat and salt method? I really dont want to go back to the meds.
<Sure. 2 to 3 level teaspoons (12-18 grammes) of aquarium/tonic or kosher salt per gallon (3.8 litres) should do the trick. Watch the fish, since what we call "primary" freshwater fish aren't wild about being exposed to salty water for too long ("secondary" freshwater fish like cichlids, livebearers and killifish are far less bothered). For short periods of a week or two, this shouldn't cause undue harm, but watch them anyway.
Alternatively, choose a medication that doesn't contain formalin, copper, or malachite green, since these are the medications most likely to stress catfish, loaches, etc. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH 4/27/10

ok I will start this method immediately. How high can I take the temp up to?...
<28 C/82 F is a good minimum, with 30 C/86 F being the maximum, if your fish will tolerate it. Remember to compensate for the reduced oxygen concentration of the water with extra aeration and circulation.>
My Pictus Catfish who is infested is now swimming at the top, looks like he is trying to get some air but he does not look distressed yet. I read about a salt dip?
<Irrelevant here. You're killing the free living stages in the water, not the cysts on the fish. You CANNOT kill the cysts on the fish, since they're INSIDE the skin -- please try and understand this.>
will this help him?
<No. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH 4/30/10
Hello There,
I just wanted to give an update....So the water has been crystal clear since my last message two days ago... the levels are all still the same (since last Friday), Ammonia 0.25... PH 7.0 and Nitrates are 10. What went down was the Nitrites which are down to 0 from 0.5 for two days now. How far along in the cycle am I? ...
<Difficult to say; at most cycling takes 6 weeks, but if the tank has been running a few weeks, even a "second" cycle should only take 2-3 weeks since there'll be at least some bacteria in the system.>
The ICH has gotten better with the heat and salt method. My Pictus Catfish who has ICH is doing good. He is eating and swimming around and seems to be unaffected by the ICH spots on him (which has improved). He is pulling through beautifully! No knew outbreaks on the others. I am now only doing 25% water changes daily as oppose to 50%.(I hope this is ok).
<Is fine, so long as nitrite/ammonia stay fairly low, near-zero.>
I have resumed feeding them daily but I am only giving them 1 frozen bloodworm cube to share. It seems to be enough for everyone and they seem to really enjoy it!
<I bet. Sounds like things are improving. Keep up the good work! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Bad Quality Water and ICH
Thanks again for all of your help!! I will check in in a few days : )
<Good luck! Neale.>

Freshwater Ich, med. use 04/18/10
Hi, I have a 100 gallon freshwater tank with 2 juvenile blue Acaras, 3 juvenile Uarus and 2 Cory cats. This tank is 'blackwater' with Mopani driftwood and peat filtration. I run an Aqua Clear 300 and 500 (one on each end) and a hydro sponge filter in the middle. The water parameters are good (ammonia and nitrite being zero). I do bi weekly water changes of about 15 gallons each of aged water (not direct from the tap but in a storage bin with peat and a heater).
This tank has been up and running for several months now with fish being in it for about 6 weeks. All of a sudden last week the dreaded Ich arrived.
I think it was a delayed reaction to shipping stress from the Uarus. I have been treating the tank for 7 days with Paraguard.
<Mmm, a good medication, but hard to maintain-sustain a therapeutic dose in such a setting...>
The temperature has always been at 82F (a little too warm for the Cory's possibly but the Uarus love it) The Acaras showed a little of the parasite but seem to be cleared up. The Cory's don't show any signs of the parasite. The Uarus have it the worst. Over the course of treatment, the parasite has covered them completely. They don't seem worse for wear however. They still eat aggressively, swim like normal, no increased respiration or clamped fins. My question to you is, will this particular treatment be effective or should I change up and do the salt method?
<Not salt, but I would elevate the temperature...>
If so, what is the salt method exactly? And when can I switch, apparently with Paraguard, it is 'gone' from the system within 24 hours. Thank you,
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re: freshwater Ich, med. absorption 4/18/2010

Thanks for the quick response! Not sure what you mean about Paraguard being hard to maintain/sustain in this setting. Do you mean with the peat, the types of filters (there is not carbon) or the size of the tank?
<The peat extract, wood, "detritus"... See WWM re... where you were referred.>
Just want to make sure I using a good but safe treatment method.
<Understood. B>

Ich? Yes! Reading? NO! 4/19/10
Hi, these are the juvenile Uarus Bob F. wrote back to me about. I am sending three pictures in hopes that someone can confirm my diagnosis of Ich.
<Good gosh! It sure looks like a terrible case of Ich<thyophthiriasis>.>
I moved them into a hospital tank yesterday, bare bottom, temp 85F and continued treatment with Paraguard - Day 8 today
<Again... this treatment is doing no good here. IF it were, the spots would all be gone by now... The Paraguard (Glutaraldehyde) is being absorbed...
- keeping my fingers double crossed.
Thanks, Edey
<You need to move these fishes to a treatment tank... NOW! And/or raise the water temp to the upper 80's F. One last time, PLEASE read where you were referred to initially. BobF>

Re: Ich? 4/19/10
I did move them to a treatment tank yesterday. Bare bottom, temp 85F, sponge filter, no organic material at all. Just some PVC hides.
<Great! I would use another/different "Ich remedy", and still elevate the temp. a few degrees F. B>
Re: Ich?
Do you recommend salt at this point or not 'strong' enough?
<I don't suggest salt/s for Ich remedies...>
If so, can sea salt (for salt water aquariums) be used or just plain aquarium salt?
<... read here:
Also, should I change some water to remove today's dosage of Paraguard?
<... read the label... I would>
<... Please start searching, reading... and not writing. Your fish/es will be dead if you delay. B>

Ram with resistant Ick? 4/16/10
Hi I recently contacted you about a Koi Angelfish I was having problems with, unfortunately she died. Thank you very much for your help on that issue.
<Sorry to hear things didn't work out well.>
But....I have another one in a different tank. I have 2 German blue Rams in a 20 gallon tank, I have noticed for quite some time now that they have had white spots on there fins, none on the body what so ever, so I assumed
it was Ich.
<Perhaps. But might also be Velvet or for that matter Lymphocystis, both of which have vaguely similar symptoms. Velvet is finer than Ick, and tends to have a golden sheen, hence the name. Lymphocystis is a viral disease the causes distinctive, often quite large, nodules to develop on the fins and body.>
I treated with quick cure and raised the temp a few degrees to 84F. <<The treatment occurred in the main/display tank... Likely materials in the system absorbed the medication. The formalin in the QuickCure, if treated at therapeutic dosage, will have killed off the nitrifying microbes... RMF>>
<Raised? You do realise that Mikrogeophagus ramirezi needs to be kept between 28-30 C/82-86 F all year around? It gets sick when kept cooler, and this is one reason it's a poor choice for community fish.>
I treated for a couple weeks but the spots did not go away. They don't seem to be bothered by them but lets face it they are ugly to look at, the spots not the fish, and I would love to get rid of them. Do I need to treat longer?
<Ick cysts should only last a few days. The cysts themselves burst, releasing "larval" parasites that swim about and then affect the fish again, so what you have is a succession of generations. Now, the cysts can leave behind wounds, and these can become infected with Finrot. Curing Ick depends upon breaking the cycle. You CANNOT treat the cysts at all, so by raising the temperature you cause them to burst more quickly. Then whatever you put in the water kills the larval forms, and hopefully that puts a stop to the whole thing. Standard Ick medications work well provided carbon is removed from the filter.
Note that some Ick medications are toxic to catfish, loaches, and certain other species, so check the instructions carefully before use. Alternatively, the use of salt at up to 2 g/l can work well and is less risky. Do see here:
Maybe change the meds I'm using? I use QuICK cure. Water parameters are excellent: PH6.5, nitrate 0ppm, Nitrite 0ppm. Let me know your thoughts <Cheers, Neale.>

2 Female/ 1 Male Blue MM Platies... Ich, reading 09/14/09
Hello WWMC!
I recently introduced 3 gorgeous blue Mickey Mouse platies to my 10 gallon tank 2 weeks ago. I also have 1 zebra Danio, 1 panda Cory (used to have 2 but one died), 1 albino Cory, and 2 neon tetras. I regret not being able to quarantine the new fish, as they came down with a case of ich (or is it ick?)
<Either one is fine>
2 days later. Since I have cories in the tank, I did not want to use the salt method, although I did raise the temp up to 84 degrees. Usually the temperature is at 75. I went to my LFS to search for Rid-Ich, which was recommended by many people on myfishtank.net, as it seems to have good results with even sensitive fish. Since the store didn't have Rid-Ich, I bought API's liquid super ick cure.
<Mmm... is Malachite Green Oxalate:
Quite toxic to Neons, scale-less fishes...>
I poured half the recommended dose into the main tank and waited another 48 hours until the second dose. By the third day the ick seemed to have gotten better, but my one male MM seemed to become lethargic and lie on the bottom of the tank (I don't think it's an oxygen problem since the others are fine) under a fake plant when I wasn't looking at the fish. I decided to put the male in a small clip-on-to-the-side tank so it would be easier for him to get fresh oxygen.
One of the females still had a eye-sized white spot on her tail, so I just put all three platies in the clip on tank and put a quarter dose in the clip on tank. Btw, all my other fish haven't gotten ick (yet hopefully). I also did a 50% water change yesterday with a siphon (with dechlorinated replacement water). I noticed yesterday that the males gonopodium was slightly red, more pinkish than red actually.
I am feeding all the fish TetraFin goldie flakes (I know it's the wrong food but I only have a little bit left so I'm using it up), algae wafers, and shrimp pellets. I plan to buy Spirulina flakes for the platies. I've tried putting in small pieces of broccoli and cucumber but none of my fish seem to touch it.
Any feedback on my issues will be greatly appreciated.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: 2 Female/ 1 Male Blue MM Platies 9/17/09
Hi again! Another problem this time! I tried searching around the site for a problem similar to mine, but I don't think there's one.
The platies still have ick,
<Odd... Please review the article and Related FAQs on WWM re FW Ich. It may well be that the medication is being absorbed by something here.>
and even after I vacuumed the gravel 3 days ago, the male platy's condition became worse. There's an open wound at the side of his body and I think the fish have fin rot! I'm really worried about my fish and I don't want the male to die, as I don't think there are any more blue MM platies at the fish store. I am still continuing with the Rid-Ich every 48 hours. I tried putting a little bit of salt, and my cories were okay with it, so I just put a teaspoon more. All the fish are swimming fine except for the male platy. Is there any hope left for the male?
<Here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm

Re: I have a new tank! (FW; selection) 11/18/08
Hi Neale,
I have another question!
I set up my Rio180 with one of the sponges from my 60 ltr tank, let it run for a week, but decided not to transfer my platies in as there were new teeny fry in the tank (I have 4 babies now), instead I went off to Maidenhead aquatics in St. Albans and bought 12 little (about 1 inch long)
5 banded barbs and added them to my new tank (oh, I tested the water first, which was all good - zero everything)
<Puntius pentazona; an excellent community species, though not hardy and a bit on the shy side.>
Day 3 after I added the fish I had a nitrite spike (0.3) so I did a 30% water change.
Day 4 - I noticed a few tiny little white spots on their fins, which by the end of the day had increased in number (at most maybe 6 on one fish, one or two on some of the others). I sat next to the tank with laptop in hand and decided it was definitely ich - so I went to the very nice man in Amersham pet shop and he agreed that it sounded like it from my description, and I treated the 180 with eSHA Exit for 3 days.
<Good diagnosis and an excellent treatment, in my experience, though remember to remove carbon from the filter, if used. I believe the Juwel filters have a carbon sponge installed.>
Not a single little white spot remains (and I have been sat there watching the little things as they dart about - they hide from me mostly so a lot of watching has been done). (Interestingly I have two friends who also recently bought at MA in St. Albans and they have had ich brought home with the new fish as well - which is why I was on the lookout for it)
<Whitespot/Ick is pretty well ubiquitous in the retail side of the hobby.
It's incredibly difficult to stop it moving between tanks unless you employ strict quarantine and isolation procedures on everything from the fish and plants through to nets, hose pipes and buckets. Because whitespot isn't deadly if treated promptly, it's not a major problem.>
My question is - How long should I leave it now before I can add the platies and Ancistrus from my 60 ltr tank? I have tested water daily and no further nitrite / ammonia spikes have been detected.
<I'd wait 1-2 weeks after the last sign of Whitespot.>
I am keen to shift at least one platy as he is being bullied - there are two males in the tank and one is very aggressive towards the other - if he comes out of his hiding place to eat the other chases him until he hides again (he's managing to eat OK though, I check).
<Feel free to move the "persecuted" male at once. Lesser of two evils...>
When the aggressive male isn't chasing him he either hides or tries to chase the females - but as soon as the other one sees him, he chases him back to his hiding spot. Do platies usually show such aggressive behavior towards other males? He chases one of the females (the largest) a lot also.
<Completely normal behaviour, I'm afraid. I'd recommend keeping Platies in big groups, with females outnumbering males by at least 2 to 1. Otherwise, a single male with 2-3 females works well. The thing with livebearers is that in the wild males "fight" to keep access to harems of female. Their instinct is to drive off any male that comes too close. In big groups, say, a dozen, it's difficult for any one male to become dominant. But in smaller groups, what you describe is very common, perhaps standard behaviour.>
Once the platies are moved and settled I can look at getting some more little fishy friends.. but not from St. Albans I think!
<Ah, wouldn't be too hard on St A's. It's a great shop with some good staff. Whitespot isn't something I'd use to make-or-break my patronage to a store. I'd be much more concerned about Finrot (signs of aggression/poor water quality), dead fish in the tanks, and things like obviously underweight herbivorous catfish or specialist predators.>
Thanks once again for your help...
Sarah (still watching fish instead of working!)
<Some of us get to do both! Cheers, Neale.>

Tank Crashed After Ich Treatment 12/21/06 Hello. I hope you can help me. I have a 55 gallon aquarium that recently came down with ich. Originally, it contained mollies, platies, guppies, Neons, other assorted tetras, and one Pleco that is about 12" long. Since we had the tetras, we were told we had to use a chemical known as Rid-Ich Plus to treat the tank because they could not handle anything stronger. After 8 days of treatments with this, they all died along with a good majority of the tank. We switched to Quick Cure. It was at this point that our levels in the water sky rocketed. Our nitrites actually were at toxic levels. We took a sample to an aquarium shop and they told us they had no idea how anything was alive in the tank. :( While treating with the Quick Cure, we were doing 50% water changes daily to attempt to fix the water levels. Which brings me to the new tragedy in a very long road for this poor guy. We have tested his levels daily and they are fine. He has developed a film over his eyes. I am told this was a protective layer his body created during the ich cycle which has scarred him for life and he will never see again. (It reminds me of cataracts.) I have also been told that this could be a bacteria infection. He has blood under one of the capsules. I am guessing it is from him hitting his head when he would try to jump from the tank and hit his face on the hood of the tank. He also has red spots right above his dorsal fins that almost look raw. As if he needs anything further... he has white spots on him that would make me think he had ich, but the remaining 2 mollies in the tank do not show any signs of it and with everything else he is displaying... I am not sure that it is not fungus. Can you please tell me what is wrong with him and what is the best thing to do for him? Also, with the holiday we will be out of town for two days so I am not sure how that would affect any treatments that we would need to administer. This tank is a month and a half old. It was originally set up as a pond, but we started the cycle over again when we changed the gravel. I thought you may need that information as well. I appreciate any help you can give me. Have a wonderful holiday! Mikaelah < The prolonged treatments affected the biological filtration and created deadly ammonia and nitrite spikes. Most of the fish were killed off directly with the fish that are left have been stressed by the treatments and the spikes. Unfortunately the Pleco has come down with a bacterial infection too. Let start by getting the tank stabilized. Do a 50% water change , vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. It would be best to place the Pleco in a separate 20 gallon hospital tank. Either way then, make sure the water temp is up to 83 F. Increase the aeration. Add a tablespoon of rock salt or aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water. The mollies will love this and it will make the Pleco develop a protective slime to fight the ich. Treat the tank with Nitrofurazone as per the directions on the package and the Rid-ich II. The next day do a 50% water change and treat again. Do not feed the sick fish. They will not eat and the food will rot and cause the spikes you had before. Do this for three days. If you are leaving then on the last day just do a water change. When you get back check on the fish. If everyone is alive and the infection has cleared up then add some high quality carbon for the filter to remove any left over medication. When the tank is cleared of any medication you can add Bio-Spira from Marineland and you tank will be cycled very soon. Then you can start to feed your fish again. New fish need to be quarantined before placing them in the main tank or this will happen all over again.-Chuck>

Can you please help me cure my ich. 1/6/07 <<Hello, Chris. Tom with you this time.>> Can you please help me cure my ich. <<Likely your fish have Ich, Chris. If you've got it, we're in trouble. :) >> I have a 10 gallon tank that we purchased the day before Christmas. We have 1 Oranda, 1 calico fantail and 1 gold fantail. <<The tank's too small for these fish, Chris. Aside from that, it's highly unlikely that your tank could have 'cycled' in this short period of time. In all probability, they're dealing with high levels of ammonia and/or nitrites. Potentially both. Not a good situation.>> The 2 fantail's came down with ich and the case seems pretty severe. It is all over their bodies. As soon as I noticed the bumps I went out and got Quick Cure. I have been adding 10 drops once a day like the instructions say, but nothing appears to be getting better. I have changed out 20% of the water yesterday which was day 3. Today is day 4 and the instructions say to not use but 3 times. What should I do? I have taken out the carbon filter and left it out. <<Skip the Quick Cure for the time being and do a massive -- 90% - water change. If you have a heater, slowly raise the temperature up to 80 degrees. If you don't have a heater, get one. At the same time, purchase some aquarium salt. In conjunction with the water change, add aquarium salt to the new water, along with a good water conditioner. The final destination here is to have a ratio of three tablespoons of salt per gallon of aquarium water and a temperature of, at least, 80 degrees. The salt will kill the juvenile parasites and the elevated temperature will speed up the life-cycle of the Ich so that the salt can do its job. (Only works on the juvenile stage of the critters. The adults -- the ones on the fish and the ones encysted at the bottom of your tank - are immune to anything.)>> The 2 fantails are only active when it is eating time now. That is not usual for them. 1 of them appears to not like the light and hides out often'¦then came the ick so I think the light stressed the fish out and it spread. I don't have a vacuum for the tank. Should I get one? <<Absolutely. When you do the water changes, you'll need to vacuum the bottom of the tank heavily to try to get as many of the parasites before they break out and go searching for a host, i.e. your fish. Much to be learned, Chris. Wish I could offer you a 'silver bullet' here but you've gotten yourself, and your fish, into a bit of a pickle. You need to get this tank cycled and, not to impugn a Christmas present, upgraded to, at least, 30-40 gallons if you want to keep the Goldfish. Two tanks are better anyway, and we can help make sure the ten-gallon tank won't be wasted. As a final recommendation (as if you wanted one!) get yourself a water test kit and test your parameters religiously. You're 'flying blind' right now and can only guess at what's going on in the tank. Guessing ain't good. You need to know what the ammonia and nitrite levels are along with pH and nitrate levels. The first two are most critical as these will stress or even kill your fish. Hang in there, Chris. These things just got out of order. Otherwise, you'd only (casually) be looking for an upgrade to your current tank.>> Thank you, Chris Dickert <<Please get back if you have further questions. In the meantime, I wish you success and good luck. Tom>>

Re: ich... How do I control the ammonia & nitrate levels? 1/7/07 <<Hello, Chris.>> How do I control the ammonia & nitrate levels? <<Let's do this first, Chris. The nitrogen cycle goes like this: ammonia -> nitrites -> nitrates. So, it's actually the ammonia and nitrites that you need, immediately, to be concerned about. Those are the serious toxins in the tank. The nitrates are the 'caboose' of the nitrogen cycle, so to speak, and will be handled with regular, small water changes after the tank cycles. Normal maintenance stuff. (That's down the road, though.)>> When I do the massive water overhaul what do I do with the fish? Do I leave them in the 10%? Will this shock the fish? Should I take them out and clean the entire tank and start over? <<All of this can be simplified to where you wondered why you were worried to begin with (beyond the 'obvious' problem, of course). Purchase a five-gallon bucket from your local hardware (Home Depot, Lowe's or even the LFS). Give it a good cleaning in hot water with a little bleach and rinse it thoroughly. Siphon five gallons of water out of the tank. (The fish will be fine for this very short time.) Add in the fresh, conditioned water and you've just cut the polluted solution to 50% of its original toxin level. Repeat. You've cut it to 25% of the original. Repeat. You've cut it to 12.5% of the original. One more time and you're at 6.25% of the original toxin level. In short, with four five-gallon changes, you've effectively performed a 93.75% water change. (Rigorously speaking, this isn't 100% accurate. It presupposes that the ammonia and nitrites remaining after each five-gallon water change instantly mix into 100% of the tank water. Real people terms? Close enough! ;) ) Now, assuming we're starting from scratch on the aquarium salt, If you dissolve in 4-6 tablespoons with the last five-gallon change (completely dissolved, by the way), you'll bring the cumulative salt level to 2-3 tablespoons per five gallons in the tank. Lots of labor but no 'rocket science' here.>> I took some water by the local wet pets and they said the ammonia was high but it was normal since it hasn't cycled thru. <<Uh huh. Same as saying it's normal for all of your bones to be broken because you dove, head-first, into the Grand Canyon. Ammonia and nitrite poisoning kill fish in a painful and ugly way. Plain and simple. At the low end of the spectrum, this contributes to stress promoting infestations like Ich due to the lowering of the fish's immune system. Sound familiar? I'm not picking on you but the fact that the folks you spoke to didn't give you the same information that I just did 'bothers' me! On the lighter side, I guess it would put me out of work, eh? :) >> How do the ammonia levels get out of hand? <<In your case, they haven't gotten 'out of hand', Chris. Just part of the natural process of cycling an aquarium. The beneficial bacteria that feed on ammonia, and nitrites, just haven't had time to populate your tank adequately to keep the levels where they need to be, which is at zero. Can take some time, weeks, in fact, depending on how you go about it. Once things get squared away and, you've taken some time to do some research, this will all seem like a no-brainer. Trust me. In the meantime, keep me posted, if you will. Tom>>

Re: ich 1/7/07 <<Hello, Chris.>> Before I received this email back from you I completed the 90% overhaul of the tank. I went out and purchased a vacuum along with a ph balancer, ammonia stripe test, a heater, and something called "cycle." <<Chemically treating for a specific pH level is a crapshoot, Chris. It's generally considered best, by today's standards, to acclimate the fish to the pH of the water you have readily available. The thinking here is that keeping the pH stable is far better in the long run, whether it's 'optimal' or not, than to tinker and potentially send it swinging back and forth. Changes in pH are what endangers the fish far more than holding it steady above or below the ideal. As for the Cycle product, it's not going to do the deed for you. There's only one product of this type that I or, any of the rest of us here, would recommend for 'instantly' cycling a tank and that's BIO-Spira from Marineland. This product must be kept refrigerated as it contains live bacteria, Nitrosomonas bacteria to control ammonia and Nitrospira bacteria for the nitrites.>> I took 1 gallon out of the tank and put it in a 1 gallon bowl with the 2 fish. They are really looking weak. <<Sorry to hear this but it doesn't come as a surprise given the circumstances.>> I added 2 tablespoons of salt to the tank (as the directions said to add 1 rounded tablespoon per 5 gallons) and I added 90% of a teaspoon of aqua safe (for the chlorine). <<Okay. No real need to be too precise on the conditioner since you can't overdose the tank with it but, so far, so good.>> I went ahead and installed the heater and added a dose of cure all (for the ich) even though the fish are in the 1 gallon tank. <<The medication and/or salt only works on the parasites in the juvenile stage, anyway, i.e. the ones that have burst out of the cysts at the bottom of the tank.>> I lost the Oranda yesterday. <<Sorry, Chris.>> I tested the ammonia in the 1 gallon bowl and it is on the "danger"-worst mark. <<Understandable.>> I tested the new water in the 10 gallon tank and it says "stress." <<An improvement, anyway.>> By the way, my wife won't let me get a bigger tank than 10 gallon. She about freaked when I got it for Christmas. She was thinking a Betta in a bowl. <<If we can't get this squared away'¦fast'¦she might just get her wish.>> One of the fantails appears to be sloshing the white stuff off her coat, but they are definitely looking like sloth's....hardly moving...just breathing. Should I introduce them back to the tank or hang it up. <<Into the 10-gallon ASAP! Do NOT dump the water from the bowl into the tank. Likely it has parasites in it that have dropped off the fish. The salt will assist their breathing though there's no way to tell, from my end, what kind of damage the ammonia may have done to the gills. It will also help in the healing of the wounds on the fish where the parasites were buried in their flesh. Whatever kind of 'math' you have to do to keep the salt levels, at least, where they are now, along with the Ich medication, you're going to have to perform additional water changes, the way I suggested in my last e-mail, to get the ammonia levels down to as low a level as humanly possible. Three a day if that's what it takes. (If the salt levels go high, this won't be a problem as you probably noted from our last correspondence.) As long as those fish are alive, 'hanging it up' is not an option. Tom>> Re: ich 1/8/07 <<Hi, Chris.>> Thank you, Tom, for all the feedback you have given me. <<Not a problem at all.>> Unfortunately the 3 fish have now passed. It's very sad to see that happen. <<Agreed. No life is 'disposable'.>> I emptied the tank out and washed off the rocks and every item in the tank with hot water. <<Sounds good.>> I put everything back together and am now in the 24-hour break-in period. <<'Break-in' period for what, Chris?>> I am not going to introduce any fish until tomorrow. <<No, Chris, you're not going to introduce any fish tomorrow! That tank is, effectively, brand new. It needs to cycle! The fact that it didn't is what killed your Goldfish. We're going to do this right this time.>> I was thinking about a couple of tetras. What do you think? <<I think that you and I have to talk about how to properly cycle an aquarium so that 'any' fish you introduce don't die. I want you in the hobby for a very long time and the fastest way to leave it is to keep losing fish unnecessarily.>> I want to break the tank in the right way this time without any fish that might stress like the gold fish. <<Good start, Chris, and it means cycling the tank 'without' fish. When you put your next 'guys' in there, it'll be ready and safe for them.>> My little boy keeps asking about Nemo and it is wearing me out. <<Understood. You can't imagine what I put up with around my house!>> I have to get it right this time. <<You're going to.>> Do you suggest that I get that cycle stuff that you have to refrigerate? <<If you're speaking of the BIO-Spira, absolutely. Get a small filter, if you don't have one already (an AquaClear Mini would do well), and add the BIO-Spira according to the directions. Do this in the morning, and, by the afternoon, you can add your Tetras. A few Corydoras (itsy-bitsy Catfish, for lack of a better way to put it) will also do very well in your 10-gallon tank. No salt, though. Catfish (scaleless fish) don't tolerate salt well.>> Any other advice? <<Yes. Add your fish sparingly. Once your tank is established, the beneficial bacteria reach a type of equilibrium with the ammonia and nitrites produced. Too many fish at one time (you don't have that much room, anyway) will upset the balance resulting in what's known as a 'spike'. (Back, potentially, to the Goldfish situation.) Take your time! This is for the long-haul. Beyond that, teach your little guy the right way to care for fish. So very much to learn, Chris, and very rewarding.>> Thanks for all the help. <<You know where to find me, Chris. My best to you. Tom>>

Re: ich 1/9/07 <<Hi, Chris.>> Would you recommend putting the Bio-Spira in before I add any fish? <<Yes, but the irony (if you want to call it that) is that you'll need to add fish almost immediately, within 24 hours of adding the bacteria and preferably within about 12 hours. The fish will continue to feed the bacteria with ammonia or else you'll get die-off of most, if not all, of an expensive dose of BIO-Spira.>> Can the tank cycle without fish? <<Oh, heavens, yes! Any source of ammonia will help to seed/feed the bio-colonies. Many folks use raw seafood, for example. Shrimp are probably the most popular of these sources. Regular old fish food will also do the trick. If you'd like to take this to a higher level, you can add pure ammonia -- not the typical household cleaner variety. Should be able to find the pure stuff at a hardware store. (For our purposes, the cheaper the ammonia is, i.e. no special additives to drive the price up, the better. If it isn't 100% pure ammonia, don't get it. Might also go by pure ammonium hydroxide, for what it's worth.) You'll want to spend some money on a decent test kit, though. The progress of the cycling is rapidly increased using the pure ammonia method and if you don't test the water regularly it's like trying to lose 10 pounds of weight without ever weighing yourself to see when you accomplished your goal. On a parting note, if you count yourself as a patient guy, this is a much cheaper way to go than the BIO-Spira (sorry Marineland). Still pretty quick, however. Be talking. Tom (P.S. Chris, if you would, toss my name in at the beginning of posts you want directed specifically to me. Makes the mail easier to direct on our end. Thanks.>> Re: ich 1/9/07 <<Hey, Chris.>> Thanks Tom. <<No problem.>> I was told that you had to let the tank sit for 24 hours before bringing any fish into the environment. <<By folks who haven't stayed on top of their game, Chris. 'Old school'. We've learned to cycle without taking/endangering life in the process.>> I will look for the Bio-Spira before I even consider bringing home some tetras. I already added aquarium salt figuring that if there was any leftover Ich in the rocks that it would hopefully kill the left over. <<If the juveniles don't find a host in a short time, they'll die, Chris. I like the addition of the salt, anyway. A little 'payback', if you will. :)>> I will wait until you give me the go ahead for the new fish. Where can I find some Bio-Spira? <<Any good fish store should carry the product. I wouldn't bother with the 'chain stores'. BIO-Spira is pricey (sorry) and I know, for a fact, that my local PetSmart, for example, doesn't carry it. My regular LFS does, however'¦which is why it's my regular LFS, among other reasons. You could buy it online if all else fails.>> Will it by in the local wet-pets fish store? <<Could be, Chris. Give them a quick phone call.>> I have checked the pH a couple of times and it is in the safe area right now. <<Good.>> I would like to eventually get back to a couple of goldfish because my son takes to them, but for now and the next while (months) or however long it takes to do this right I will go with whatever you recommend. <<I don't like to seem like I missed something since we last spoke but did we lose the Fantails, Chris? (I suspect, sadly, that we did. If so, I'm very sorry.) Okay. The bottom line is that we have to get the tank cycled. Plain and simple. Best to get a test kit to keep an eye on this yourself. Easy way to go about this? When you start to detect nitrates, things are moving in the right direction. It means that the bacteria are doing their job. Get the ammonia and nitrites to zero, nitrates <20 and we're 'golden'. (Eventually, the nitrates may hit zero as well but that will come with time. No need to wait that long.) The nitrates are going to be the key for you. When those are detectable, it means that both sets of bacteria are working in your tank. From there, you can slowly add your new fish. Now, wasn't that easy? :) Best of luck, my friend. I'll be here if the need arises. Tom>>

Ick treatment for 100 gallon freshwater tank, plus cycling tips <Jorie's go> 4/25/07 Hi, <Hello> I have a relatively new 100 gallon tank setup (about 6 weeks). <Did you cycle it? If not, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > Up to this weekend, we had 10 very small fish living peacefully in it. <Hopefully not all added at once - again, please refer to the cycling article.> We have 2 mollies, 2 tiger barbs, 2 albino rainbow sharks, 3 Bala sharks, and 1 glassfish. <Generally speaking, livebearers, including mollies, need to be kept in 3:1 female:male ratios, to avoid letting the male unduly harass the females. Here's a good livebearer article: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm Tiger barbs generally do best in groups. Also, be aware that these fish are very fin-nippy...do watch out for the mollies, especially if they have fancy, long fins. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/BarbsDaniosRasborasArt.htm See here for helpful article on Bala (and rainbow) sharks and their requirements: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bala_sharks.htm Do be sure to fully understand the fish you have and each of their respective requirements prior to adding any new livestock!> Most of these are less than 1-2 inches long. <They will grow...> Unfortunately, the tigers were showing signs of ick so I pulled all the fishies out and put them in a clean empty 10 gallon tank I had. <That's pretty crowded for 10 fish - hopefully you are doing regular water changes, and there's a good filtration system on this QT...> I have the filter box running for water movement with no cartridge and no gravel. <You need to very carefully monitor ammonia, nitrite, and/or nitrate build-up. I understand why you aren't using a filter cartridge (for medication purposes) and no gravel (for easy vacuuming of the ich), but just watch out. You should be doing daily tests for toxins (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a Freshwater Master Test kit that I really like)> I am using this as a hospital tank and using RidIch+ to treat them. Each morning I am vacuuming the tank about 25%, adding fresh water with AquaSafe water conditioner, and 1 teaspoon of the RidIch. I'm also leaving the light off as I read somewhere the light makes the medicine not as effective. The fish seem to be doing better as most of the spots are gone from the tigers. <That's good, but do be aware that the ich parasite has a lifecycle, causing it to go through various stages, some of which aren't visible to the naked eye. Do read here for info. and various treatment options: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm My question is what should I be doing to the 100 gallon tank? I read several places that not having fish will cause the ick to die with no other actions needed. <This is true - it's called letting the tank run "fallow". You'll need to leave it fishless for at least 4 weeks, safer option is 6.> The temp of both tanks is right around 76 degrees. <Raising the temperature (gradually when fish are present, obviously) speeds up the parasite's lifecycle...> I do not have heater for the large tank as the room temp will never get lower than this. <Never say never. You definitely need a heater, as it is extremely important to keep aquarium temperatures stable. Here's some options; I prefer the submersible ones - http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Product/NavResults.cfm?N=2004&Np=1&Ntt=heater&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=All&Nty=1&pc=1 How long do I need to keep the large tank empty? <4-6 weeks at current temperature, less if temp. is increased.> I am also trying to complete the cycling on this tank so would like to repopulate before the load gets too low and I lose my good bacteria. <Ideally, you should have cycled the tank prior to adding fish. Indeed, now you can accomplish this buy adding a small bit of fish food, and allowing the ammonia, nitrite and nitrates to spike, then decrease, on their own.> I'm still doing partial water changes on the large tank daily to reduce the nitrites and finally have them in an acceptable range. <By doing this, you are not allowing the cycle to complete. Without fish in the tank, you've got the luxury of allowing the toxins to build-up; do see above link for cycling info.> Thanks, Beth <You're welcome, Beth. Take this opportunity to allow your main tank to cycle. Keep a close eye on water parameters in the hospital tank - you'll need to do daily 25% - 50% water changes, with such a heavy fish load. Do read the links I've provided, and consider investing in a helpful beginner's book by David E. Boruchowitz, called "A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums" - it will help you better understand many of the aspects of this wonderful hobby. Regards, Jorie> Ick treatment for 100 gallon freshwater tank 4/25/07 <Chris' go> Hi, <Hello> I have a relatively new 100 gallon tank setup (about 6 weeks). Up to this weekend, we had 10 very small fish living peacefully in it. We have 2 mollies, 2 tiger barbs, 2 albino rainbow sharks, 3 Bala sharks, and 1 glassfish. <Not small for long, the Bala can reach 14 inches, the Rainbow around 5+.> Most of these are less than 1-2 inches long. Unfortunately, the tigers were showing signs of ick so I pulled all the fishes out and put them in a clean empty 10 gallon tank I had. I have the filter box running for water movement with no cartridge and no gravel. <Ok> I am using this as a hospital tank and using RidIch+ to treat them. <I am not a fan of this medication, better off using a copper based treatment.> Each morning I am vacuuming the tank about 25%, adding fresh water with AquaSafe water conditioner, and 1 teaspoon of the RidIch. <Ok> I'm also leaving the light off as I read somewhere the light makes the medicine not as effective. <Its just plain nasty stuff, too toxic for my liking.> The fish seem to be doing better as most of the spots are gone from the tigers. My question is what should I be doing to the 100 gallon tank? <Regular maintenance, maybe a little food to keep the bacteria going.> I read several places that not having fish will cause the ick to die with no other actions needed. <Yep, leave it fallow 4 to 6 weeks.> The temp of both tanks is right around 76 degrees. I do not have a heater for the large tank as the room temp will never get lower than this. <Stability is key, how hot does it get?> How long do I need to keep the large tank empty? <4 to 6 weeks.> I am also trying to complete the cycling on this tank so would like to repopulate before the load gets too low and I lose my good bacteria. <Unnecessary to put the fish through this, a little food every couple days does just as well.> I'm still doing partial water changes on the large tank daily to reduce the nitrites and finally have them in an acceptable range. <If there is nothing alive in there let it be.> Thanks, Beth <Chris>

FW Ich 9/12/07 I had 2 moonlight Gouramis in a 29 gallon tanks with 3 Dalmatian mollies. The Gouramis started getting tiny white spots on their fins. One developed the white spots on its body. I thought this might be ick so I moved them to a 10 gallon tank to treat with medication. The one with the spots on the body kind of jerks in the corner, the other swims fine but still has spots on the fins. How long should I treat them? Will they be okay in the 10 gallon without gravel and decorations (I have no money to buy extra things right now)? <Hail. Yep, the white spots are whitespot/ick. It needs to be treated at once. Left alone, it becomes serious and can kill fish quite quickly. You actually treat the tank -- not the fish -- so moving fish with whitespot doesn't serve any purpose except to infect yet another tank. So, you need to treat both the 29 gallon tank and the 10 gallon tank. The medication doesn't kill the white spots you see on the fish, but the free-swimming larval stages in the water. Treat precisely and exactly as described on the bottle/package. Raising the temperature a couple of degrees often helps, too. Do not do water changes while treating the tanks (obviously this will dilute the medication). Remove carbon from the filter (carbon neutralises most medications). Cheers, Neale>

Re: FW ich 9/12/07 Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely be coming to you guys for advice in the future. I have treated the 29 gallon tank and I put the moonlight Gouramis back in it so they will have a less stressful habitat. I used the Wardley, malachite green, ick treatment. I have read on other treatments that they prevent second infections, but the Wardley treatment does not say that. I also read that ick in the water can only be treated at a certain stage and that stage is a few days after the white spots fall off my fish. Will I need to treat the water again after the white spots fall off my Gouramis? <No, the medication is usually a one time thing. Treat according to the instructions. When the parasites fall off the host, they're dead. They don't re-infect the fish. It's the (invisible to the naked eye) free swimming baby parasites they've been pumping out prior to their death that infects other fish. Sometimes, one series of medication isn't enough. There's something called "Super Whitespot" doing the rounds in the UK. No-one knows if it truly is whitespot or something else entirely. Either way, you need to do a big water change after one course of medication, and then begin a second course. That usually does the trick. This varies depending on the medication used, and some brands kill it off first time. Whitespot isn't difficult to treat, and there's no reason to get paranoid about all your fish dying. Cheers, Neale>

Salt treatment for Ich, FW... 9/2/07 Dear crew, I have a 10 gallon FW tank with hang on bio-filter and heater. This is really my son's tank that he received as a birthday gift a month ago but as he is 2 I have been designated the caretaker. This is my first foray into fish keeping and I have been reading as much as possible to learn how best to care for the fish. We have the following fish: 2 Neon Tetras 2 White Skirt Tetras 2 Female Platys 2 recently departed male Swordtails (died within 2 days of each other) The Tetras have been in the tank for 1 month, I am still in the process of cycling the tank. On Tuesday my in-laws surprised (sabotaged) us with 6 new fish. I believe the 2 swordtails died due to stress/high nitrites. (Ammonia=0, nitrite=1.0, nitrates=20 before today's water change) I have been doing water changes about twice a week to keep the Ammonia/Nitrites in check during the cycling process. Now to my problem: It appears that I have an ich outbreak in the tank. I want to treat the Ich with high temperature and salt. I have read differing opinions on salting with tetras so I wasn't sure if a medication would be a better solution. Also, I have been using Aqueon Water Conditioner to remove Chlorine/Chloramines from my tap water; will this nullify the effectiveness of the salt? I have read that it is necessary to remove the carbon from the filter while medicating, but is it necessary with the salt treatment? One last question, I have only fake plants/decorations in my tank, should I remove these while treating the fish? Thank you for all of your help. -Rusty <Rusty, I would not recommend treating the tank with salt to kill whitespot. While it can work, it doesn't always work, and you are correct in suspecting tetras react badly to it. Neons come from mineral-poor waters and do not like salt in the water. To a lesser extent this also holds true for the white-skirt tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi, notorious fin-nippers and all round nasty fish). Anyway, use a proper anti-whitespot medication of your choice for more reliable, easier to manage treatment. Naturally, you MUST remove carbon before treating the tank with medication. In fact carbon is a complete and utter waste of time in a tank like yours, where you should be doing 50% water changes weekly just to maintain stable water conditions. Given that, the ability of carbon to remove dissolved organic waste is redundant. Far better to give over the space in the filter to more biological media. Carbon is basically a con, used to get money out of inexperienced fishkeepers. It doesn't serve much purpose in the modern hobby, though decades ago it was useful because people kept fish in a different (and inferior) way. You also have the problem of a very small aquarium (totally unsuitable for swordtails and white-skirt tetras, and only marginally acceptable for platies). I'd HIGHLY recommend re-thinking your stocking with a view to getting fish likely to work well in a 10 gallon tank. For some reason you aren't keeping your schooling fish in groups. Two is unacceptable, and they will never settle down and likely die. Neons are fine fish for a 10 gallon tank, but they should be groups of 6 or more. If you wanted, I'd suggest replacing the white-skirt tetras with 6 Glowlight tetras, and together with 4 more Neons, you'd have a nice little group of fish there with eye-catching colours. If you got rid of the platies you could also add a couple or three kuhlii loaches. These are fun bottom dwellers and very pretty little fish to boot. I hope this helps, Neale>

Second bout of Ich in two years 9/2/07 Hello- We're in recovery from our second bout of Ich in the past two years. The first case was sheer ignorance, and I (and the fish, of course) owe WWM's crew a debt of thanks. Your site has the best comprehensive info on so many things we needed to know. For this recent outbreak, after exhaustively searching your site, I have only one unanswered question: Can Ich be introduced to a tank from frozen brine shrimp? Our 25 gal tank has been stable for over 18 months and then just three weeks ago the dreaded Ich appeared again. It wiped out all four of our black tetras before we could catch it, but by using your recommended salt & higher temp treatment the 2 yo-yo loaches, Pleco, 2 angel fish and 2 Danios are now symptom free. I plan on keeping the salt and temps up to complete a three week treatment, but really do not want to re-introduce the brine shrimp until I know what could have caused the recent outbreak. To my knowledge, nothing else went in the tank. FYI, the tank is a typical freshwater tropical tank, with mostly artificial plants but a few live ones. Any ideas where the recent Ich may have come from? Thank you very much, Roseann & Barry. <Greetings. It is extremely unlikely whitespot came in with frozen or live brine shrimp. Artemia spp. live in hypersaline or temporary lagoons where nothing much other than algae lives. Certainly, there are no fishes there, which is how such primitive crustaceans as Artemia can even survive there (Artemia are not found in regular freshwater habitats or the sea). Anyway, this means that they aren't exposed to fish parasites of any kind, and why they are considered the "perfect" live food in terms of safety. Some aquarists believe whitespot lies dormant in all aquaria, and becomes a problem only where conditions allow (i.e., the fish are stressed in some way). While there's no evidence to support this that I'm aware of, it's certainly possible. Regardless, once you've treated the aquarium, ideally with a proper medication rather than salt, all the dormant whitespot cysts should be killed. So short of adding new fish, you should be whitespot free. Good luck, Neale>

Ich infested tank. -- 08/27/07 Hello! I've recently discovered your site, and find it to be a fairly good resource, despite the fact that I've had some trouble getting my questions answered on the forums. People post links that contradict each other, and just all around end up confusing me. My tank has ich. It's 10 gallons with black tetras, blue Congo tetras, and a Pleco (yes, tank is small for when he starts growing, however, I've already made sure of trade in policies and may even get a bigger tank when the time comes). I've done a lot of research on ich, I know the basics of the lifecycle, and the common treatments. When I went to the fish store, they suggest heat and aquarium salt (added as per the directions on the box, which is 1 level table spoon per 5 gallons) This is what I've been trying, I've raised the temperature to 86F or so, and added in the salt, adding a little bit more to the new water bucket when I do a water change so that the concentration doesn't change. I'm reluctant to just jump into medication as I don't want to risk harming my biological filtration and end up stressing the fish a bit more in the long run while my tank re-cycles. What I want to know, is if I'm doing anything right, or if I should do some things different. The ich just dropped off my fish almost all at once, so I'm hoping that I will be done with it. However, I would love some advice incase this happens again, or incase the outbreak isn't over yet. Thanks in advance! Krys. <hello Krys. Ick (whitespot) can be a problem. Personally, I don't recommend the salt method for treatment. You need quite a high salinity for it to be effective, and high temperature, and together these things can end up stressing the fish more than the medication would. So while it may be useful for some situations (e.g., clown loaches, which are intolerant of copper and formalin medications) for run of the mill community tropicals life is simpler to go use standard ick medications. I've found "eSHa exit" particularly good; it seems to work well against the "super-whitespot" doing the rounds here in the UK, and doesn't seem to harm catfish or puffers, both of which sometimes react badly to standard medications. Properly used, an aquarium treatment shouldn't harm the filter bacteria. This did sometimes happen back in the pre-history of the hobby (i.e., before the 1980s) but nowadays it isn't something to worry about. The main mistake people make is to leave carbon in the aquarium filter. The carbon removes the medication, so the fish stay sick. Anyway, as you realise medications and for that matter salt don't kill the parasites on the fish. Warming the tank is a way to speed up the life cycle so those adult parasites become life expired and fall off the host. Where the medication or salt comes into play is with the free-living larval parasites. Assuming your treatment worked, your fish should not be re-infected with another batch of white spots, i.e., adult parasites. So watch and wait, and see what happens. If they come back, skip the salt, and go use an Ick medication of your choice. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Ich infested tank. 8/28/07 Thank you very much for your reply. I've gone out and bought some Nox-ich. I've read a bit about it, but just have a couple of quick questions before I do a light treatment of my tank (likely a little less than half the regular dose). The instructions on the packaging are minimal, and some website searching is turning up little that's definitive. I've read that it can leech into almost anything in my tank. I currently have some fake plants, an ornament, lava rock, and driftwood. Should I take any of these out before treating my tank? If so, which? I've heard people recommend taking out ornaments and fake plants so that they don't get stained. I'm just wondering if the medication may leech into the wood or rock and potentially cause problems later. What would you recommend? If I take these things out, should I cover my tank with something so that the fish have somewhere to "hide"? With the plants gone (and the wood and rock if you recommend it) they won't have anywhere to hide, and I don't want to stress them too much. <Greetings. I'm not familiar with "Nox Ich". But it's a type of Malachite Green organic dye. So read Bob's page on these, here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/malachitefaqs.htm . I don't use these types of medication myself -- too much hassle, no real advantage. Hope this helps, Neale>

Treating Discus with Ich - 8/14/07 Hi Crew, <Hi Greg, Pufferpunk here> I apologise for the long email up front. <It's ok, we need to know what's going on & how you've been treating.> I am having a bit of a problem getting rid of White Spot (Ich) from my well planted low-tech 6x2x2 Discus & community aquarium. The tank has been up and running for seven months and was fully cycled after three months. From day 1 the temp was set at 30C (approx 86F) and I didn't have any problems at all with disease etc, but Ich must have been in the tank somewhere as when I recently lowered the temp down to 28C (approx 82F) to help the plants grow I suddenly had an outbreak of Ich that I am having problems getting rid of it. <That's your problem right there. Discus' immune systems are compromised at lower temps. Never mind the fact that ich dies off mush faster at higher temps (86-88 F).> So far I've had four 'attacks' against the Ich as follows: 1st Attack - I used 'Rapid Ich Remedy' which contained Formalin and Malachite Green, followed instructions as per the bottle (5mL per 20L = approx 150mL per dose) on days 1, 4 and 7 which cleared the Ich for about a week, then it came back. 2nd Attack - I again used 'Rapid Ich Remedy' following instructions as per the bottle (5mL per 20L = approx 150mL per dose) in terms of dose rate but I dosed on days 1, 4, 7, 10 and 13 which again cleared the Ich for about a week, then it came back. 3rd Attack - I used Waterlife's 'Protozin' (the double strength version) which I assume also contains Formalin and Malachite green as it looks & smells the same as the 'Rapid Ich Remedy' medication, followed instructions on the bottle (2.5mL per 75L = approx 25mL per dose) on days 1, 2, 3 and 6. This again cleared the Ich for about a week, then it came back yet again. 4th Attack (currently I'm on day 4 of this 'attack' & I'm getting desperate)... I'm again using Waterlife's 'Protozin' in combination with an Anti-Parasite medication for fish ponds (made by Interpet) which contains Formalin. I'm dosing as follows (don't freak out): A 13 day attack plan, where I'm dosing the Pond Anti-Parasite medication (25mL per 1,100L = approx 15mL per dose) on days 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7 at 7:00AM and I'm also dosing Protozin (2.5mL per 75L = approx 25mLs per dose) on days 1,2,3,4,5,7,9,11 and 13 at 7:00PM i.e. each medication for the first 7 days is 12 hours apart. Note: I'm not performing any water changes during treatment but I usually change 20% of the water twice per week. Bad idea! Discus need 90% weekly water changes. During ich outbreaks, 80% every other day is necessary to remove the free-swimming parasite from the water column. It shouldn't be necessary to treat ich with any meds at all. High temps & 2tbsp salt/10gallong should be sufficient, along with large bi-daily water changes. Using all those different meds are just making the ich stronger & the discus weaker.> I figure the 4th attack will either kill the Ich, and/or kill (and probably permanently preserve) the fish with all that formaldehyde, or perhaps the Ich and the Fish will survive and I'll likely give up and accept that I am stuck with Ich for the rest of this tanks life. I guess I could get rid of all the plants and fish except the Discus and then raise the temp up to 31 or 32 degrees C (approx 89F), as I figure the Ich will not cause too many problems at this temp for Discus. However I really don't want to go back to running my tank above 30 degrees C (approx 86F) as the plants (mostly Amazon swords, Ambulia and Water Sprite) don't like the higher temps at all, as everything looks and grows much better at 28C. I really like having a planted Discus aquarium and since all the fish get along so well its a shame to have to give into this single celled monster! <I have a fully planted discus tank. I don't use any of the plants you have listed. All my plants are also low-light species. Right now, I have many species of Crypts, Anubias, Java fern & Crinum. See: http://www.aquariumplants.com/Warm_Water_Discus_Plants_s/20.htm Many plants require CO2 supplementation (which I don't use). In addition, I add Yamato Green weekly (www.yamatogreen.com) & poke Jobe's Spikes under their roots, every 6 months.> Now you may be wondering how everything has held up through these multiple attacks against the Ich? Well during all the treatments so far I have not noticed any effect whatsoever on my biological filtration (no measurable NH3 or NO2) but then again the plants may well be taking care of NH3, NO2 and NO3 as they are still growing just fine through all of this. <Anti-parasitic meds do not harm biological filtration.><<Mmm, I would NOT make this statement. Many compounds sold as such definitely WILL affect, stall nitrification... directly and/or indirectly. RMF>> Even all the fish (including the supposedly fragile Cardinal & Rummy Nose Tetras) don't even seem to notice that they are being medicated at all, which makes me wonder if the medications are being negated by the plants or perhaps by something else? Like I said my 4th attack is quite brutal and I'm likely to suffer losses but I'm prepared to do almost anything to get rid of this stubborn Ich once and for all. Maybe I need to increase the dose rate? Maybe I need to try NaCl and raise the temp? <Now you're thinking in the right direction!> I have an 80L quarantine tank that I use for all new fish but it is not big enough to move all the fish in there for separate treatment. The QT is usually set at 30C and all fish that go through it get nuked by Multi-Cure (basically Methylene Blue, Malachite Green and Formalin) and then I watch them for a minimum of two weeks (total of a 3 week stay in QT) before fish are transferred into the main 6x2x2 display tank. I've never lost any fish apart from the odd Cardinal or Rummy nose using this method but I find them rather delicate at the best of times when purchased from the LFS - they always look starved! In case you need to know the tank is setup as follows: 6x2x2 glass aquarium with approx 600L of water 1x Eheim 2228 canister filter 1x Aqua One 2450 canister filter (UV-C is off during treatment) 1x air stone running 24/7 Temp at 28C (approx 82-83F) pH = 7.4 Hard tap water (treated with a double dose of Prime during each WC) 10 healthy young Discus (see attached photos) 5 Black Neon Tetras 12 Cardinal Tetras 15 Rummy Nose Tetras 5 SAEs 3 BNs 2 Sterbai Cory Catfish 4 Kuhlii Loaches Well planted (actually the plants are growing really well even throughout the treatment - see attached photos taken 3 days ago for reference) <Sounds/looks like a lovely tank! Lighting?> Any suggestions on what I'm doing wrong or what I can do to win this battle would be appreciated... thanks Crew! <Try my suggestions above. The plants may not be strong enough at this point to handle the treatment but I think the fish are worth the risk. ~PP> Regards, Greg Simpson Perth, Western Australia

Re: Treating Discus with Ich (or Neons in this case)... actually Cardinals... Poor Advice... 8/15/07 Thanks for your quick reply Pufferpunk! <Sure!> It's actually not the Discus that seem to be effected by the Ich, it's the Cardinals! <That's what I get for assuming...> After a few weeks it's like they are slowly being sprinkled with salt and they 'flick' against the stems of plants (classic Ich symptoms in my opinion). I guess the poor Cardinals are feeling poorly from the anti-parasite medications and thus cannot resist the Ich as much as the stronger fish. <Yes, I believe so many meds will actually weaken the fish's immune system.> What about Copper based treatments? I hear copper can be quite effective too. <Copper is very effective but extremely dangerous, especially on weakened fish or used incorrectly. You could try a saltwater dip on them but they are so tiny!><<RMF would NOT SW dip small S. American Characins>> I guess after round 4 of my 'attacks' I'll try the higher temp & salt combination as round 5. <I think this is your best bet. Don't forget to do huge water changes every other day, trying to clean the substrate (as best you can with the plants), to remove the free-swimming parasites.> If that fails Copper based meds might be round 6. I hope this does not turn out to be a 12 round fight! I've kept tropical fish for 24 years and have never had such an issue with disease as I have this time around. I've had Ich before in smaller/less planted tanks and usually after a basic Ich treatment it's resolved for good. I must have a bad/resistant strain of it!!!! <Add Melafix to heal the wounds from the parasite boring into the fish. Good luck, let me know how it goes. I'm sure there is tons of info on ich treatment at WWM. You can also read this: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/library/hospital/fwich/ ~PP><<This citation has NOTHING to do w/ FW ich treatment... RMF>> Regards, Greg

Frustrated with Fish, FW Disease, Ich 5/14/08 I have a 55Gallon goldfish tank. It has been up and running for a few months now. The numbers are as follows Ammonia = 0 Nitrites = 0 Nitrates = 60ppm this number is due to a problem with source water, recently I switched to using spring water as recommended by my LFS. This seems to have solved that problem. <Might want to look into an RO/DI unit, could be cheaper in the long term depending on what the spring water costs you.> I am now battling ich. I used Maracide to treat the tank. <Malachite green, pretty toxic stuff. There are less toxic means to fight this, see here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm . > I treated the tank exactly per the instructions. I also brought the temperature of the tank up to 76F to try and speed up the life cycle of the parasite. All but one of the goldfish died (there were four fancy in total). The little black moor that is left is on his way out and the strange thing about it is that the ich never actually left the bodies of the fish. Over the course of treatment of seven days the ich never dropped off the fish. The black moor has more ich on him now then when I started treating. Is there anything that can be done for him? <Could try a formalin bath, but be wary, formalin is also fairly toxic to people, so may not be appropriate for a work environment. Don't want to get in trouble for bringing a carcinogen into a doctor's office.> Also I cannot let the tank go fallow because it is set up at a prominent doctor's office and it also houses two ACF's, which by the way are doing just Jim dandy. I need some help. I am getting frustrated and losing fish and my boss is losing confidence in my ability to manage the tank. Please help... <Can be frustrating.> Treat with an alternative medication? (After a huge water change and running carbon so as not to overdose the tank on meds.) <I would probably try to avoid medications here since you can not QT these fish, most medications will destroy your biofilter and lead to water quality issues. I would try using salt first, "about 1 teaspoon per 5 gallons for two weeks." http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshdisease.htm .> Is Maracide typically an effective solution? <Yes, but it leads to poor water quality which can cause even more problems to the already weakened fish.> How do I get the critters off of the fish so I can kill them? <They pretty much have to cycle off themselves, most treatments attack them in their more vulnerable free swimming stage.> When might I ever be able to have fish again? <Without a fish host their lifecycle is about 2 weeks. Best bet here is to QT any new fish before placement in the tank to avoid these types of problems.> Can I add fish while I medicate to ensure they do not contract the disease? <I would not add anything to the tank while treating. However if the tank is devoid of fish not treatment is necessary, without fish hosts the tank will be ich free in about a month.> What about the ACF's they handled the Maracide well but I researched it and contacted Mardel to make sure it was safe, is an alternative medication also going to sit well with them? <Amphibians are going to be very sensitive to any chemical you put in the water, so best bet here is to just let the tank run fishless for a month since the Ich cannot host on the frogs.> I read that adding salt could be effective but I also read that ACF's do not tolerate salt well? <They do not generally do well with salt. My advice here is to let the frogs run the tank for a month, then add new fish after a month long QT to make sure they do not bring in any new diseases.> Oh and finally, I forgot there is a little butterfly loach in there as well. He seems to be fine although determining his health is tough because he isn't very active. <If he remains in the tank, so will the Ich.> Also I do know the benefits of a quarantine tank and I am kicking myself but my options are limited because of the fact that I am not able to make my own decisions about the tank. <For a display tank like this a QT tank is almost mandatory, for the simple fact that can't easily break down the tank and run it fallow. I think the doctor would hopefully understand the old "ounce of prevention" saying if you explain the benefits to him/her.> <Chris>

African Cichlids scratching 5-1-08 Malawi Cichlids With Stubborn Itch Hi Chuck, We wrote to you back in January 2006 about an issue with our fish scratching on rocks, gravel, etc. I've included the e-mails below. Just wondering if we could ask for your advice one more time! I'll give you an update... After your advice we treated for Ich/ Protozoa infection on two separate occasions. The first dose didn't stop them scratching so our local fish shop recommended a second, prolonged treatment with a different brand (ie 2 treatments back to back). That proved to be a disaster; it not only failed to stop the scratching, but also killed many fish. We were left with a few P. saulosi, P. acei and some Synodontis catfish. We spoke to many fish shops and no one could help us or suggest any further treatments. One said it could be the water conditioner or that it could just be natural behaviour. Having lost so many fish we had given up on treating them any further and just thought we'd see how things go. Over the past 2 years we've completely changed the rock, the sand, all water conditioners/hardeners/etc., tried different foods, got a bigger canister filter, put in some powerheads, added Seachem Purigen to the filter (changed monthly) and maintained good water conditions throughout. (Phew) All the fish seemed very healthy. They bred many many times (to the point that there were far too many for the tank) and even our Synodontis population tripled using the saulosi as hosts. Everything was perfect...except they were STILL scratching! A week ago we sold all the fish except the Synodontis and bought a colony of 5 large venustus (1 male 25cm, 4 females 20cm). Unfortunately I noticed the male scratching last night. I can't see anything visually wrong, no spots or anything. We checked the water conditions and got the following: GH = 22 deg., KH = 10 deg., pH = 8, ammonia = 0, nitrites = 0, nitrates < 5ppm (didn't register any on the test). I'm absolutely stumped and very frustrated. It seems obvious that it's a parasite... Do you have any ideas on what it could be? Is there any way of testing the fish before trying to treat them? Any natural remedies that won't kill the fish? Any non-parasite ideas? Sorry about the long e-mail! Thanks in advance. Carl & Monica < Ideally you take a sample of the protective slim from the skin of the fish and look at it under a microscope. Look for parasites that may be causing the irritation. If you tried the Rid-Ich, then I am surprised that it didn't work. Generally new fish are stressed and they produce lots of this protective slim. Sometimes they produce enough to overcome the parasite and the organism becomes less of a problem. To increase the slim you could add aquarium or rock salt. You don't want to add too much because the slim will coat the gills and impede respiration. Other natural remedies would be to increase the water temp to the mid 80's F. Higher temps increase the metabolism of the organism and they cannot keep this up. Think of it as giving your tank a fever to fight a cold. I would start by adding a tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons of water and raise the water temp to 83 F. If the fish act too stressed then reduce the water temp until they feel more comfortable. If the eyes are also cloudy then it could be bacterial. Try Furanace, it works well on both bacteria and funguses. Minerals and metals may also cause the irritations. You could set up a quarantine tank and fill it with treated R/O or treated distilled water. That way you are in control of the minerals/metals in the water.-Chuck>

Are the white spots overfeeding or temperature related ? - 03/27/06 Hi! I need some help. Yesterday three of my fish died of Ick or Ich. (White spots) They were fine for a month now but recently just stopped being their selves and started developing the white spots. I used the Ick Treatment (blue liquid added to tank). I have a 1 1/2 foot tank and there are (or were) 15 fish. 4 Guppies (now 3) 4 Platies (now 2) 1 Siamese fighter Male 2 Swordtails (1 jumped out when retrieving guppy babies before they were eaten) 1 Algae Eater 1 Glass Fish 1 Mollie A beautiful array of fish and wonderful to watch. I need to know are their deaths related to over feeding (I feed them twice a day, or temperature related? My tank is set at 26 C. Since one of the death of a blue platy, one of the swordtails has started being a happy and swimming all around like he used to before the platy arrived, was he bullied of felt threatened? He is back to being the father of the tank! Thanks and keep up the good work ! <Sounds like they died of an Ich infection. Totally unrelated to your temperature or feeding schedule (but cut back to one feeding a day and skip one day a week). Read here for all the info you will need to rid your system of Ich. http://www.aquariumadvice.com/article_view.php?faq=2&fldAuto=32 Personally, I prefer the salt and heat method. All your fish can handle the level of salt needed to kill off the parasite. As to your swordtail, sounds like the platy was "top dog" in the tank. Now that he is gone a new alpha fish is taking over. This can happen in small systems with closely related species. One point about your livestock, if the "Algae Eater" is what is commonly called a "Chinese Algae Eater" he will get very large and aggressive over time. Best to remove him now. Not a good community fish. Don> What are these things! FW Neons, Ich... 3/27/06 Dear WWM Crew, I have recently had all my neon tetras die. The first one to go (thing 1) had dropsy and was really sad because he had been a part of my aquarium for over a year. I went to the local aquarium to get two replacements to keep my second neon company. Within 2 days both of the new guys died. I tested my water and everything was fine. <Can't tell from here> The following day I bought another neon tetra and named in speckles (It had white dots sprinkled over its body and fins). <Perhaps if you named them after prophets...> This one soon died too, followed by my second neon tetra (thing 2). I noticed my other fish began having white dots as well. <Oops... likely not related... but ich> (I have a flame tetra, two Gouramis, a serpae tetra) Doing my research, I assumed ich and began treating the tank with Coppersafe, as recommended by the aquarium store. <... I would NOT treat small characins/Tetras with Copper products... but half doses of Malachite Green, elevated temperature... posted on WWM> Paying closer attention to the tank, I can see many tiny white bugs moving on the glass and floating in the water that were not there before. <These also are very likely unrelated...> Can these white bugs be what is on my fish? Are they parasites hurting my fish? Thank you for your time, Jackie <The initial losses were probably due to simple differences in your store/sources water quality, acclimation and your system... the ich was likely imported on some of the new fish... the bugs are likely living on the nutrients, food... You need to "step up" your maintenance, treat the ich with something less toxic (likely clean the tank a bit first, or better, treat the fish elsewhere...), and not worry re the apparent "bugs". Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> HELP! Ick Infestation... FW Ich City! 3/27/06 Hello to all of you, <And you> This is my first time asking a question "on line" so I'll try to add all the info you need. I am relatively new to this hobby (which I am starting to LOVE). Anyway, first tank: 33 gallons 2 months old, 3 platys and 5 rainbow fish (praecox) one cherry barb. Ammonia 0, Nitrite 0, Nitrate 20ppm, 25% water changes weekly. No new fish added but March 16 noticed barb flashing and with 2-3 spots. Started treating with Quick Cure. <... I would not use Formalin in your main tank... perhaps Malachite Green alone... with elevated temperature... Posted on WWM> Removed carbon, cut feedings in half, raised temperature to 81 degrees <I'd raise to mid-eighties> and kept lights off. After 3 days, barb getting worse and spread to platys. Started to treat with ICK GUARD. Have treated for the last 5 days with 20 % water change every three days. Temperature stable at 81, reduced feeding and limited lights. Barb died on March 20. Platys sometimes swim around but often rest on the bottom. Tail fins still have several spots and look clamped, not spread out like normal. Most of the Rainbows haven't eaten in the last two days. One swimming almost upright (nose up) with a slightly ragged tail fin. If it gets under the filter current it just gets plummeted to the bottom. Doesn't seem to have any strength. Another Rainbow just hovering at the surface not moving. Another Rainbow just shimmying at one end of the tank. Tests done every second day - Ammonia and nitrate still 0, Nitrate still 20ppm. Second tank - 10 gallon set up about 3 months ago. 5 Harlequin Rasboras, 2 cherry barbs. I full size Rasbora, I almost full size, 3 very small (about one third the size of the full-size), cherry barbs slightly smaller than full-size barb. Ammonia and Nitrite 0, Ammonia about 20ppm. 25% weekly water changes. Checked with major aquatic store if OK to add 4 black neon barbs question my PH 8.0 level. <... too high...> They said it would be OK as they were tank reared and that was the PH range of their tanks. Within three days...ICK. Have been treating with ICK GUARD for the past 6 days. Water temp 81%, lights off, carbon out, limited feeding. <...> Relatively new 20 gallon - 4 platys. Within 3 days ICK. Ammonia and Nitrate 0, Nitrate 25 ppm. Live plants. Increased temp to 81degrees, am limiting food tiny (I mean tiny pinch every other day), removed carbon. I've cruised around 100 web sites for info on ick. However, my questions are: how long do the spots last? <Depends... in "one generation" cycles about four days at this temperature... but/however, over time, the cyclicity of Protozoans gets more complex, overlapping... continuous...> Even though the Rainbows in the 33 gallons seem to be deteriorating, I'm hesitant about cutting back/discontinuing with the ICK GUARD as I'm aware about the part of the ick cycle when the parasite can be effectively treated. How could they have gotten ick in the first place? <Was present already... likely on other fish/es> I ensure that the temperature of the water during the water changes is exactly the same - and no new fish were introduced??? <Can be easily transferred on any wet gear...> I really need help. Although I'm kind of new at this, I don't want to sound sappy or anything, but I've really gotten attached to all these little guys/gals. Thanks for any help/thoughts you can add. Lisa (aka.. bad fish momma) <Lisa... raise the tanks temperatures, use Malachite Green... and soon. Read on WWM re this disease, its treatment, prevention... use quarantine...! Bob Fenner> Re: HELP! Ick Infestation 3/27/06 Thanks so much for the speedy reply. Just a bit of clarification for me if it's OK I'm in the process of raising the temperature in all three tanks to about 84-85 degrees (should be there by tomorrow evening) Can all the fish, Rasboras, black neon tetras, platys and remaining rainbows sustain that temperature and for how long or how many days? When you say use Malachite Green, is there an actual product sold named that or is it an ingredient in ICK medications? <There are a few: http://wetwebmedia.com/malachitegreen.htm> If it is, which is the best name brand to use. I searched WWM again and got confused whether the Rid-Ick + was a good or bad product to use. And yes, valuable lesson learned re quarantine. When this is all over, the 10 gallon will be "quarantine headquarters" Thanks again and have a good night <Sounds good! Bob Fenner>

Ich--Out of Control! 3/19/06 <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I am in tears right now over my fish. I recently set up a brackish tank because I fell in love with the puffer fish. One of the first fish that I added into my BW tank was two zebra puffers. <Colomesus asellus? See: http://www.thepufferforum.com/articles/puffer/sapuffer.html > I had some scats in the tank to cycle the water and everything was fine until I got a couple GS puffers and 3 F8s from another pet store. <A lot of bioload to add all at once. Scats grow as large as dinner plates & require 50g each (adult size). Green spotted puffers grow to 6", require marine conditions as adults & 30-40g each. F8s like low-end BW (1.005), need 15g for one & 10 more for each extra puffer.> I was then informed that the Zebra puffers were not BW fish. <Correct.> So now I had two fish that had no place to go. I do have a FW tank, but it is pretty full and I thought that I saw some ick on the Z puffers, so I did not want to spread into my other tank. I decided to remove the Z puffers. Yes, they had ick... <This species in particular, is very sensitive to ich. Must be quarantined & treated right after purchasing.> So I am thinking that maybe they were stressed from the BW conditions and I moved them into a small, already cycled 16 gallon tank. I treated the ick in the 16 gallon with JUNGLE Ick clear, along with my BW tank. I saw a few spots on the scats and a couple F8s by this time. Well, I treated both tanks for 3 days and the ick cleared up in both tanks. <Just long enough for them to become immune to the treatment. It's like not using antibiotics for the full recommended period.> About 6 days later I noticed that the Z puffers in the 16 gallon FW had signs of ick again, so I immediately used JUNGLE ick and I had gotten 2 glass fish for the BW tank and I swear, by the time I got them home and dumped them in the tank - not more than 1 hour passed and the glass fish had ick spots, so I also treated that 40 gallon BW tank with JUNGLE Ick again also. Well, after 3 days of treatment, my Z puffers had not responded to the treatment and have gotten steadily worse. My BW tank has held its own but still no signs of improvement. I then put the carbon back in the 40 gallon BW tank (Fluval) and the 16 gal tank, waited 12 hours, did a 25% water change and switched medicine to Kordon Prevent Ick. I used that for 2 days in both tanks, cutting the medicine down a little bit because of the puffers being sensitive and all of my fish seemed to have gotten worse. So, I then changed medicine AGAIN with Kordon Rid-Ick. Now, after 3 days all of my fish that were infected are either the same or worse. The Z puffers look so bad - one is also starting to get fin rot, that I have thought about putting them out of their misery, ether by having a friend of mine freeze them or me flushing them. <Overdosing with clove oil is best (found in the toothpaste isle of the drug store).> My BW tank with the three F8s seems to be getting worse and I just don't think I can see any more of my fish suffer so. I talked to a friend of mine at the pet store and he told me that there are all sorts of strains of ick, and that all medicine might not kill that strain. <There is FW "ich" (Ichthyophthirius multifilius) & SW "whitespot" (Cryptocaryon irritans), with similar habits to freshwater ich.> I do not understand how ick could be living in my BW tank with the temp being 80, and the hydrometer reading at .006 - .008. <You could be making the strain resistant to meds, with all the different meds you are using, for not a long enough time.> So to sum it up I have a 40 gal tank with 2 scats, 2 knight gobies, 1 GS puffer, 3 F8s, 2 butterfly gobies, 5 Bumblebee gobies, 2 glass fish and 2 black Mollies. <Waaaay overstocked! With that kind of overstocking there is always going to be constant stress & lowered immune systems--no chance of fighting disease at all in there.> The 3 F8s are steadily getting worse and I am sure my fish are stressed from constant 24hr water changes along with new doses of ick medicine. <Water changes are the very best thing you can be doing right now. Here is an article on Treating Puffers with Ich: http://www.thepufferforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9 > My 16 gallon tank has 2 Z puffers and 2 white mollies COVERED with ick. I do understand that it takes more than 3 days to clear up ick but I have had ick in the past in another tank. <The parasite have a greater hold on scaleless fish.> I have - a FW 40 gal and after 3 days the ick has always maintained the same appearance or gotten a bit better. So, if you are wondering why I have not waited before trying a new med is because every day, even with the ick medicine the puffers have gotten steadily worse. As of now I have put the carbon back in the tank and am going to try a new medicine called Super Ick Cure, by Aquarium pharmaceuticals Inc. I am still debating as whether to do another 20% water change before attempting this. I feel that the more water I take out and put in, the more stressed the puffers get. My Z puffers are suffering so, I know that I cannot watch any more of my fish get that bad so please, if you have any answers on how to get this under control - PLEASE write back. If I have to watch my F8s suffer like the Z puffers, I don't think I'll be able deal with having any more fish. :((((( <I understand your affection for these wonderful fish! I'm afraid your tanks are in trouble with all the fish you have in there. Please read the links I have given you. You can also add Melafix to help with the fin rot--caused by the parasite eating off the fish. Look through the other articles on the species you have & consider many larger tanks for all your fish--if they make it. For now, leave the meds alone, heat & water changes, water changes, water changes. Be sure it is the same temp & use Prime to DeChlor. ~PP> Kathleen

Treating ich--how long? 3/3/06 Howdy crew, <Hello> I have a threadfin rainbow in a QT tank with a moderate case of ich. I am using Aqua-Sol to treat-- copper sulfate. <Yes, nowadays... used to be a silver salt> The product label didn't specify how long to treat, # of repeat doses or anything. <Smart... or disingenuous... or both> When I called the company to ask, they said one treatment is all that's needed. <Mmm, not likely. I disagree, but can understand this blanket statement. One needs to know actual concentrations (ambient) and re-apply as necessary (likely), rather than risk (easy) over exposure with copper/cupric ion> This doesn't jibe with what I've read on WWM and elsewhere about the effectiveness of medications on the trophont and tomont-stage buggies. <Ah, yes> I've set the QT tank to 85F to speed up the ich life cycle. Based on that, should I keep dosing the copper sulfate for X days, or wait X days and re-treat? <Let's add to the bit of info. re copper use in FW (much of this is gone over in the Marine/root web)... There are a few substantial and a handful of minor factors that determine the "life" of copper added here... Depending on aspects of water quality, the amount of "bio-gunk" and livestock, the copper can/will "go away" in a very short while... And w/o having a "given standing concentration" there is no benefit... Hence the call for suitable test kit... measuring, re-applying when the concentration drops below 0.15-0.20 ppm free cupric ion... Bob Fenner> Thanks! -Dave

Re: Treating ich--how long?... FW Q., feeding 3/4/06 Thanks Bob. That's exactly the piece I was missing. <Okay> Unfortunately, the rainbow died last night, partly due to not eating for the past 3 days on top of the infection, increased temp, etc. Which makes me wonder-- are there any tips to getting fish to eat after moving them to QT? <Mmm, yes... use of vitamins (in the water, soaked with the foods), changing water... including temperature (usually elevation), use of feeding ditherfish> Most of the fish I've QT'd have failed to eat/thrive despite my best efforts at easing their transition (using water from the display tank to fill the QT tank, etc). The rainbow was eating fine before I moved him. <Bob Fenner>

Treating A Tank With A Bio-Wheel - 2/28/2006 Hello, Have been combing the archives and I can't seem to spot this question/answer. I have a 12gal Eclipse with a bio wheel, when you're medicating a tank (ick)-after you're done, what do you do with the bio wheel? I've gotten rid of the carbon in the filter and have a new one ready to put in after the treatment, but am not sure what to do with the wheel-if anything or how to proceed. Thanks, Judy < Before treatment, take the Bio-wheel out of the system and place it in a little dish/bowl with some aquarium water and place it in a cool dark spot like under the aquarium. Keep it moist but not submerged. Treat the tank for ich for at least three days as per the recommendations on the bottle. After the treatment is complete you add carbon to remove any medication. When the tank is clear you can simply reinstall the bio-wheel. Without a fish to host the parasite it will die off in a few days depending on the water temp. This is one of the great things about the Bio-Wheel. This is especially useful when treating with antibiotics.-Chuck.>

Re: Medicated Tank with Bio-Wheel - 3/1/2006 Thank you Chuck for the quick response! I of course acted first and asked second! :-( What would I need to do (I pulled the bio wheel after I started treatment) in this instance? Should I get a new wheel and treat the water with a Bio Spira product after the treatment and about a 50% water change? I was so anxious to treat the white spots that I remembered the carbon but wasn't sure about the wheel. Thanks Again, Judy < When the fish are cured add carbon to remove the excess medication. Start feeding after adding the carbon. Be very careful not to overfeed and remove any excess food after a couple of minutes. Check the ammonia and nitrites. If they start to get up there then I would add Bio-Spira.-Chuck>

Guppy with Ich, no QT - 2/26/2006 Hello, <<Hi Lala>> I am a very new aquarist (aquariumist??). <<Aquarist was right :)>> I have a 29-gallon aquarium with 6 white clouds, 4 dwarf rainbows, 2 algae eating shrimp and a limpet. <<No plants in the tank/left then I assume.>> Added three guppies a week ago - one of them developed ich two days later. <<Quarantine is the best way to exclude problems like this.>> I immediately consulted the LFS, started AquariSol treatment and raised temperature to 80. Only one fish has ich. The ich started on the top of the back, then two days later, it looked like the skin was perforated. The fish was eating, and showed no visible distress, then the fish disappeared!! Have not seen her in three days now. The aquarium is lightly planted and has some driftwood and stone but I think it should have been visible. Could she be dead and eaten??? Or buried in the gravel? <<Any of the above, yes. Likely consumed quickly by the limpet.>> Another concern is that the other female guppy seemed to be pregnant. What should I do with the fry - should I place them in breeder tank? Will it be infected? <<Search on WWM for guppy reproduction and breeding.>> Thanks <<You are welcome. Lisa.>> Lala

Stubborn Ick 02/12/06 I have a small community tank that was recently overcome by Ick. I think it was brought home with my latest additions which were 4 cherry barbs. I would really love some direction as to what products I should use. <... posted... on WWM> I have read everything on the net as well as on the bottles, but there is just so much contradicting info out there! I have already lost the 4 barbs. I also have 2 female Betta's that were in the tank and I moved them back to bowls after their scratching nearly left them finless. I am currently using Coppersafe to treat the betas in the bowls but they don't seem to be getting any better. I actually think one has a bacterial infection on top of all this on her tail (its red/brown and splitting). So. what's the best to use for quick, safe, and effective treatment? Is there anything out there that will kill the parasites attached to the fish or do I have to wait for them to fall off? Can I combine the Ick treatment with others such as Stress Coat, Salt, or Antibiotics? What's the best thing for the bacterial infection? And lastly, what is the likelihood that the Betta's will actually recover at this point? Sorry for the loads of questions in advance! <Read: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Confused, Amber

Please help! Gourami with Ick Emergency 3-28-06 I think I may be losing my powder blue Gouramis to Ick. Last night I lost my CAE. <Other members of the Crew may be holding their breath to see what my comment here would be> I have a total of 8 Gouramis and they are showing small white spots tonight but they are very bad on my 2 powder blues. I rushed to Wal-Mart tonight when I got home from work (they were the only place I could go to at 11pm at night) and I purchased Wardley's "Ick Away". I followed the directions and removed the carbon filters but when I went to turn my filter back on nothing would circulate throughout it with the filters intact so I unplugged it completely. <Looking for surface agitation here, Jennifer. Filtration at this stage is unimportant> So my Gouramis are in the tank without anything circulating and I don't know what to do about that. I poured the blue solution into the tank and did a 50% water change with my gravel cleaner. Then I removed all my live plants. I read that the hotter temperature could kill the Ick so I placed my heater inside the tank. Well after a few minutes it started smoking and I husband unplugged it and said it broke. <From bad to worse is sounds like> So I added hot tap water mixed with fresh start to the tank in hopes that will bring up the temperature. <Won't do the deed for you. Temperature must be raised and held, preferably above 85 degrees F.> So the temperature is now at 78 in my blue watered tank without any circulation and my dying fish. Would someone please tell me what I can possibly do to save them. I have invested so much money and time into these fish and I need some direction please. Is there still hope for my fish? <If your fish are still alive, there's certainly hope. We've not alternative but to try. If you're prepared to spend the money, purchase a hang-on filter of suitable size (AquaClear would be my choice), a new heater (no preference here but I wouldn't skimp) and "aquarium" salt (not "marine" salt). Pull your current filter off the tank and install the new filter with no filter inserts. Do a 50% water change, vacuuming the gravel heavily, to remove as much of the old medication as possible as well as any encysted parasites as we might get lucky enough to catch. That done, install the new heater and slowly begin raising the temperature (1-2 degrees per hour) until the tank temperature is at 86-87 degrees. (Note: I'm not familiar with the Wardley's product however some Ich medications shouldn't be used at elevated temperatures which is why I recommend removing it.) Once you're reasonably satisfied that the old medication is out of the tank - as much as possible - we're going to do the water changes again, this time adding the aquarium salt at a dosage of 2-3 tablespoons per five gallons of water to the water-change bucket (not the tank!) - five-gallon buckets are typically sold at most LFS's and would serve well here. This process should be done slowly over a one- to two-day period to avoid "shocking" the fish. (Keep the tank water level a little lower than you normally would so that the output of the filter "disturbs" the surface sufficiently to increase oxygenation. This is very important at higher temperatures!) Now, catch your breath while I catch mine ;). Okay, the combination of salt and heat should be maintained for about 10 days. You may see a disappearance of the parasites in less time than that but it doesn't mean they're gone. In the meantime, keep an eye on your pets for signs of stress over and above what the Ich may be causing. Unlikely that this level of salinity or the elevated temperatures will do any harm to your Gouramis but let's "first, do no harm". If need be, do a small, unsalted water change but I don't think it will be necessary. At the end of this time, do water changes to remove the salt and "very" slowly lower the temperature back to normal. (Fish can acclimate to elevated temperatures faster than they can to decreased temperatures.) Also take notice that your tank will need to re-cycle as you might imagine. Bio-Spira (Marineland) can speed this up enormously. Pricey, but well worth the cost. Best of luck, Jennifer! Tom> Jennifer Groenendaal

Re: Please help! Gourami with Ick Emergency 3/31/06 Hi Tom, <Hi, John> You have helped me to save the lives of my fish because of your prompt and detailed response. <If that didn't make my day, nothing will. Thanks> The first night I didn't think my 2 blues were going to make it but I woke up the next day and they were still alive, read your email, and bought a new heater. Now I did end up back at Wal-Mart b/c the closest fish store is almost an hour from where I live so I ended up with kosher salt b/c I thought I read here before that it can be used and didn't see any marine <aquarium> salt as you instructed. Is this ok? <Absolutely> I couldn't find a hanging filter but I am going to the fish store tomorrow as I have more time to purchase one. Tonight I did another partial water change and added some more salt, some more fresh start and pH adjuster. The temperature also reached 85. <Good! One or two more degrees wouldn't hurt but you should be in good shape> I got rid of all the live plants and took out all the fake plants and the fish started to seem stressed with all the activity going on with their tank and probably also b/c there was no more plants in there. <Understandable> The reason I thought they were getting stressed is because they pace back and forth really quick or swim up and down at the corners of the tank. <Not uncommon when fish are stressed> Anyways, I then soaked the fake plants in hot water and kosher salt and floated some on the water and planted some. They all seem to have their appetite back and are swimming normally. <Very good to hear> Except out of the 8 of them I still see a bump on the top fin of one of my blues and the other one still seems to scratch itself against the rock. <These guys sounded to be the worst infected and it may take a little extra time. Not to worry at this point> Would you like me to continue this for the next 10 days before removing the salt, adjusting the temp. back to normal, and putting the carbon filters back in? <Let me offer you an option here, John. When you're satisfied that the fish are clear of any infestation, continue this course of action for three additional days. If you've any doubts, then let's run with the full ten-day plan. Much beyond ten days and we start getting into a position where we may start doing more harm than good from a standpoint of stress on the fish. The higher temperature should certainly help to speed things up since Ich can rarely survive temperatures in this range and it speeds their life cycle up significantly. In short, the stage of life in which the parasite is vulnerable will develop much sooner than if we were treating a colder temperature environment, a pond, for example.> Thanks again for your time Tom and I hope to hear back from you when you get a chance!! <Happy to get back and keep up the excellent work. The credit really belongs to you! Tom>

Re: Please help! Gourami with Ick Emergency - 04/04/2006 Hi Tom, <Hi, Jennifer> Not sure if you are able to help me at this point but my 2 powder blue Gouramis do not look like they are going to make it. I believe I completely got rid of Ick by following your instructions b/c I do not see anymore salt-like spots on their bodies but now I see small white patches of skin on them or maybe just areas where their beautiful blue coloring is faded into white. <Likely the result of wounds left behind after the adult parasites "dropped" off.> They are both at the top of the tank in the corner near the heater and moving slow and "tilting" to the side and they only move their fins when they see me come close by. Note that I have 6 other Gouramis-gold, opal, moonlight, and three-spot that seem to be just fine. <Glad to hear that, anyway...> Once I thought I treated the tank of Ick, I got the temp back to 80 degrees and put the carbon filter back in. I went to the pet store and they tested my water and told me my water was hard and needed to add bacteria, so I bought Stress Zyme and Stress Coat and added them in conjunction with each other into the tank. I also added a pH adjuster and new live plants to float on the top. <Jennifer, the activated carbon will probably "undo" any medications that you place in the tank. Cease the use of both for the time being.> The blues still didn't look good so I added them individually into a glass container with warm water, kosher salt, and some Ick Away. I kind of "dipped" each one in it individually and added them back to the tank. They still don't look good. Do you have any idea what else could be wrong? <Okay, let's start doing water changes - 20% every other day...starting now. Do NOT add anything more to the tank. (We need to get "control" over water conditions and the additives aren't helping.) Please, look into purchasing a water test kit. (Aquarium Pharmaceuticals makes a great "starter" kit and is easy to use and read.) The water changes will oxygenate the tank and control, if necessary, the toxicity of the water. We need to get your Blues under optimum conditions!> Thanks, Jennifer <Please, keep me posted. Tom>

Whitespot Wipeouts 4/21/06 Greetings, I'm still fairly new to the world of aquariums (less than a year) and am trying my hardest to keep my fishy friends happy. The set up is a 54 litre tank with live plants, with 25% water changes weekly. Nitrate, nitrite and ammonia levels are pretty low and algae (brown and green) is minimal. I follow all the advice that came from my tank manufacturer. However, I got whitespot in March, and it keeps recurring. I had to replace a Tuxedo Platy who died (no obvious cause), and the new fish brought the dreaded tomites along with it. The most of the original inhabitants (4 other Platys, 3 Zebra Danios, 9 Neon Tetras and Hoover, my beautiful Upside-down Sailfin Synodontis) were literally covered in spots before I knew what was up, and died over the next few days. I treated the tank throughout with Interpet "Number 6" Anti-Whitespot (which is a blue liquid with needs to be diluted before adding to the tank), Melafix, Pimafix, and bi-daily water changes (approx 20%). After the massacre, I was left with 2 Danios and Big Dave the Ghost Shrimp. I also noticed that the dying fish spent a lot of time swimming at the top of the tank. So, Some four weeks later, I returned to my supplier - who admitted that they'd had a major whitespot outbreak (and that they'd knowingly sold ill fish without warning customers) - and agreed to replace all of my fish free of charge. Obviously, I couldn't replace them all in one go as the filter would overload, so my tank population went up to 1 new Synodontis (Flymo), 5 new Platys (bought in two lots) and an additional Danio. They were introduced over a period of three weeks. Annoyingly, one of the final Platys seems to have brought whitespot back with it - despite showing no obvious infection (the spots appeared almost two full weeks after introduction). I immediately started treatment (and had deliberately added some of the Interpet "Number 6" before introduction as a precaution) though it doesn't seem to have any effect. My Platys spend 30% of their time apparently asleep during the day and 30% of their time swimming vigorously swimming at the surface (possibly gasping for air?). This morning, three of the Platys lost swimming control and died soon afterwards, and it appears that one of them gave birth to fry overnight! The dead fish were literally covered in whitespot, and it looked like their flesh was shredding. The other Platy seemed to be immune (except for the sleeping and surface swimming which began this morning) though I think I spotted some small spots on them just before lights out this evening. The Danios appear to be unaffected at this time. I've read the FAQs here, though none of the questions seem to cover my situation closely enough for satisfaction. What can I do to get rid of this horrible disease before I lose the rest of my fish? "Brother" Steve <Start by getting a quarantine tank. Place the new fish in the tank for at least 2 weeks and set the temp for 82 F and add a tablespoon of salt per 5 gallons. If spots appear then treat with a malachite green and formalin combination. Sometimes for really bad cases you may need to add some copper sulphate as well. When all the fish are completely cured, usually after 7 days they can be moved to the main tank. In the main tank the temp should be increased to 82 to 84 F with a tablespoon of rock salt per 5 gallons of water. Some medications can present a problem for scaleless fish like your catfish so read the labels.-Chuck> Problems with aquarium ... FW, ich... stkg. 4/9/06 Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a problem that I am having. <Will try> I set up my aquarium (the first one in 15 years!) and proceeded to perform a fishless cycle. The aquarium is a 96 Litre (25 gallon) tank. It is a planted tank with both live and plastic plants. I used ammonium chloride to initiate the cycle <... a bit dangerous... easy to overdose> and measured nitrites and nitrates to observe the spike and subsequent drop. I could not test ammonia levels as in Switzerland I have yet to find an ammonia testing kit. <Interesting. Likely "against the law" due to the toxicity of the test reagents. They are> The tap water has the following natural parameters: pH: 8.0 <A bit high for your Cardinals mentioned below> KH: 5d GH: 7d Tank temperature is kept at 26-27C. I stocked the tank with fish when the nitrites were at 0 ppm and the nitrates at 12ppm. I put in 4 male guppies and 10 cardinal tetras and 1 Pleco (which I now fear may outgrow the tank). <Most species sold for aquariums, yes> To acclimate them to the new water I placed them in a plastic bag floating in the water for about 20 minutes. I then introduced about 1-1 and 1/2 cups of tank water into the bag every 20 minutes for about 1 hour. After this time I removed the fish from the plastic bag and set them free in the tank. I tried to avoid adding any water from the plastic bag into the tank, but maybe a little bit (i.e.: some drops) entered the tank. I disposed of the mixed water and bags. For the first 4-5 days everything seemed fine. The cardinals and guppies and Pleco seemed very happy. On the 5th day I thought I noticed some white dots on one of the tetras, noted it in my journal, but didn't take action. I am a bit rusty after 15 years... <I'm permanently fused after forty...> Two days later, it was as I feared. Almost all the tetras had what obviously appeared to be ick. Bad. I raced to the fish shop and purchased a preparation based on malachite green. I treated the tank at half dose (because of the cards and Pleco) <Good> and treated at the same time with anti-biotic (1/2 dose). Temperature was raised to 28C. <Very good> Thirty percent water changes were done every 2 days along with substrate vacuuming. Over a period of 3-4 days I lost all the tetras. I was devastated. After I lost the tetras, the guppies started exhibiting lots of white spot. I continued the treatment. I am on about day 8 of the treatment now and the guppies seem to be doing much better. The ich is visibly gone, but I will continue to treat. Two guppies have developed what appeared to be tail rot, so I upped the dose of the anti-biotic and added some anti-fungal medication (at half dose also). They finally appear to be doing better (tail damage seems to have halted) and seem to be eating. But now, one guppy (with the biggest tail) seems to be getting picked on by two other guppies. It looks to me like they are trying to nip his fins, and his tail fin is already quite damaged (from the rot, I suspect). My questions are: 1. Can I do anything to discourage this nipping behaviour? <Mmm, more decor, plants, more frequent feeding... perhaps isolating the "nippers" for a few days in a floating/breeding trap...> 2. How long should I continue to treat with the malachite green? <Every three days for two weeks maximum... Is toxic> (Just today I noticed no more white spots, so all the cysts have probably fallen off in the last 24 hours) <... Yes... I might risk even elevating the temperature another C.> 3. Will the anti-biotic treatment kill my biological filter? <Could> 4. When is a reasonably safe time to add more fish given I have just treated for ich? <A few to several weeks> 5. What type of (and how many) fish will do well with the guppies and water chemistry? <Posted... on WWM, fishbase.org... elsewhere> I have a choice of Gouramis, blue rams, platys, mollies, cardinal tetras, angelfish, glassfish, penguin tetras, harlequin Rasboras, meekis, ramirezis, <Same as "Rams"> and neon tetras. (25 gallon tank, 5 fish current inhabitants) <I would stick with soft, acidic, tropical OR hard, alkaline, cooler water choices... other than the two you have indicated above here> 6. Any idea what could have caused the ich infestation? <Oh yes... You bought the fish/es with this... One of the "in the good old days" statements one might make. Livestock nowadays is far more likely to have problems...> I appreciate your time and assistance with my questions, <I appreciate your writing, sharing. Thank you and good life to you and yours. Bob Fenner> Thank you, John Theal.

Help Bala shark with ich 4/8/06 Hi my name's Brandy. I have a ten gallon tank set up for 4 months now and was running smoothly. Ammonia is 0 ppm nitrate is less than 5.0 ppm. <Good> I haven't been testing for nitrite or ph. I have an outbreak of ich which I treated today with Super Ich Cure by API. My tank had aquarium salt added a few weeks ago. The problem is that when I added the treatment for the ich on of my Balas stopped swimming. <Yes... is rather toxic... BTW, this minnow-shark species needs to ultimately be in a much larger system> He is still breathing, but lying upside-down on the bottom of the tank or on a plant (fake btw). <Yikes... very bad.> I am not sure what I can do for him at this point. <If it were me/mine, I would add some activated carbon to your filter, flow path... to remove the "medicine" quick...> I vacuumed the gravel and did a 30% water change because I was afraid that he would get more infested if I waited. <Good move> I would like to try a salt dip, but don't want to push him over the edge. I have a 3 blue pearl Danios, a Cory cat, a small Pleco, and two Balas. Every one else is fine only the Balas have ich I think. I do know how (now) big they get and was planning on moving them into my 38 gallon this weekend, but alas the ick struck! Thanks for all your help! <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm I would only use half-doses of Malachite Green on "sharks", small Characoids, catfishes... and elevated temperature to treat ich. Bob Fenner>

Ich in a FW Community Tank 4/26/06 First, thanks so much for providing this site with all of its information; I've learned a lot and certainly have become a better aquarist because of it. Second, does the following sound about right for an ich treatment? After five months of waiting and cycling and more waiting, I finally stocked my 120 gal with seven juvenile (2"-3") discus last weekend (no QT, I know, but I can only have one tank). Its continuing inhabitants include ten cardinal tetras and five Corydoras. There are no live plants. Two days ago, I noticed that three discus had come down with ich. There were only 2-4 spots per fish, but they were definitely there. I started treating immediately: daily 25% water changes with gravel vacuuming followed by a daily 110 gal-size dose of Rid-Ich+ (produces a concentration of 15 ppm formalin and 0.05 ppm malachite green), combined with a gradual temp increase. I made sure to remove the carbon from my filters; should I also remove the peat as well? < If the treatment looks like it is working then leave the peat alone. If not then remove it.> I have the tank lights off except for 2-3 hours each evening for feeding (after which I gravel-vac and treat the tank) and keep the tank covered to prevent light from degrading the medication. Is that enough light for the fish, even for the duration of a two-week treatment? < Sounds good for the short duration of the treatment.> I currently have the temp up to 85 degrees F. - can I take it higher without harming the Corys? < Leave it alone for now.> (They are C. trilineatus, C. axelrodi, and C. leucomelas.) Or is it too high already? < A little high but OK if the fish are acting normal.> Yesterday spots appeared on two more discus, and today three of the tetras show spots. None of the visibly infected fish has more than six small spots, so I hope to catch this outbreak before it really takes hold. None of the fish appears to be unduly stressed and all were willing to take food this evening. Tank parameters are stable at: (I am testing daily) NH3 - 0 ppm N03 - 0 ppm N02 - 0 ppm pH - 6.8 KH - 100 ppm GH - 50 ppm Am I doing the right thing? I plan to continue this treatment for two weeks, or longer if I observe spots after the seventh day. Any other advice? Thank you so much, Danielle Gilbert < The parasites should be gone in a week if the treatment is working. If spots continue to appear then you might want to add some copper to the treatment.-Chuck>

Problematic tank/Ich 6/22/06 Dear Crew, <Hi> My family has been trying to keep a fresh water aquarium for a year now. The first nine months were pretty sad; most of our information came from a large pet store chain, and two books which I have now discarded. <Everyone has their own methods.> The last 3 months things had been looking better, now I fear I have gotten ahead of myself again. <Will try to help.> I am unsure of the best way to proceed. I have done time on the web searching and have found some answers, but I seem to come up short in finding the connecting answers. I hope you can point the way to getting my fish back on track. <Lets give it a try.> My current status has me with one community tank for display; it is a 55 gallon corner tank, a 100 gallon canister filter. A bed of gravel (pea sized, randomly shaped) a few hidey hole items made from fish safe resin, 2 pieces of coral, I would guess the 2 pieces would weigh half a pound together. <Coral skeletons can be problematic, causing Ph shifts.> I live in Georgia and my tap water is soft and low ph. This tank has been running since mid December. About the end of March I stopped messing with the tank, after the umpteenth fish death. <Disheartening for sure.> Low and behold by mid May the trail of tears seemed to end with 4 barbs left alive. Other then bi-monthly water changes I had done nothing, the water in the tank settled down to mid sixes ph and 0 for ammonia nitrite and nitrates. <Sometimes time is the best thing.> The 4 barbs looked to be comfortable and settled in. I tossed out the snake oils I had used in the first nine months and let it be. <Good> My children (three and four years old) didn't seem interested in the tank anymore. I came across a little local fish shop I had never noticed. To make a long story short the store did not look retail, the fish and tanks looked cared for, the people seemed to enjoy the place and talking about fish. <A good LFS will help immensely.> I told them my tale and they asked me to bring in a water sample, a month later and quite a few hours watching the store's fish and listening to advice from the employees I started getting fish for the tank. I added the 2 pieces of coral to buffer the ph. <Better to work with the natural Ph of your tap water and find fish that are appropriate for it rather than attempting to alter it. Stability is the key.> Which now hovers between 6.9 and 7 ph. Then I added another 20 fish. They were added a few at a time with no QT. <Oops!> I checked levels nightly and they stayed where they had been before the new fish. I did water changes every other day, and did some work in the gravel with a siphon weekly. Things were going good until on one of my nightly checks I Found the fish had Ich. <A very common problem.> I went down to the 24 hour store with a small pet section, I purchased QuICK cure by Aquarium products, active ingredients Formalin and Malachite Green, at one drop per gallon. <Not a big fan of this stuff, really toxic. Copper is better in most cases. Also please make sure the kids stay away from the QuickCure, Formalin/formaldehyde in particular is quite toxic.> That was a week ago, since then I have been glued to the net reading, and kicking myself for letting the cart get ahead of the horses. <A learning experience. Guessing QTing will now be part of all future plans.> I have been watching the fish closely they have shed most of the cysts; 7 of the fish still show visible signs of the ick, its limited to 1 to 2 spots but its there. <May come back due to the lifecycle of freshwater Ich parasite.> I have been adding SeaChem stability with the ick cure. <Not familiar with this product beyond its web page. Seems better than most products in this category, at least a chance of working. Seachem generally has a quite good reputation in the hobby.> They all seem very happy other then the spots. Now my problem is I have too much information that I don't fully understand. I would like to save these fish that ill lucked into my care. <They could definitely have a worse custodian, believe me, we see/read it all. A caring owner is far better than what most fish end up with.> I intend to set up a QT tank; I have several tank options 20g 30g 75g that are sitting empty. And a 10 gallon tank that I was attempting the fishless <?> My questions. If the display tank is currently medicated, does the bio media become a bad choice for seeding the QT. <I would not use it, better to get some Bio-Spira to jumpstart the QT cycle.> I commonly see a reference to sick fish and moving the fish, as if singular, what if the count is higher. <Can all be treated together in the hospital/QT tank as long as it is big enough. Without knowing what types of fish you have its hard to say. Although there is nothing wrong with splitting them up between tanks if they are available.> If you buy more then one fish at a time, say a mated pair of something. Do you QT them in separate tanks? <Generally if my fish came from the same tank/filtration system at the fish shop I will QT them together, figuring if one has something the other will as well. When getting fish from different sources separate QT tanks is best, no need to unnecessarily expose a fish to something nasty.> When you do chemical tests. Is rinsing the test tubes in tap water a contamination? If I rinse them in tank water will the traces left in the tube spoil future tests? <Rinse them in tap water and then dry them.> If anything I introduce to the tank is a possible bacteria that will make them sick. How do you make it safe to work with the tank? <Like for humans most bacteria is harmless to fish. Also most diseases that effect fish are not transferable from people/dry sources, only come through other aquatic environments/hosts. Of course there are exceptions but generally anything you use and feel ok touching is biologically safe for the aquarium. When dry objects do cause problems it is more often a chemically toxic scenario.> The Display tank tests 6.9 ph and zero ammonia, N02 and N03. Which leaves me confused about the ick medicine, I thought it was going to bust up my colonies until it was out of the tank system. If it did it seems doubtful that the SeaChem stability is caring for all that waste. <Probably not, may not be at a high enough level to kill the biofiltration.> I am also wondering about moving the fish to the 75g tank and letting the 55 display go fallow after reading an article this morning on your site. <They only way to rid the tank of the Ich parasite.> But I come back full circle to the problem of a healthy cycled tank, or lack there of. <A problem, but able to be overcome with religious water changes. Just need to monitor the water quality closely. A dose of Bio-Spira may also help, as well as the Seachem Stability.> Sincerely, Robert <Hope this helps and good luck. Remember to always go slow, nothing good every happens fast in an aquarium.> <Chris>

Fighting Fish Help! Betta dis., ich - 06/30/06 Hello, <<Greetings. Tom here.>> After reading your web site I realized my Betta has the ich.. white dots all over...I am concerned he might die. <<We won't let that happen. :)>> We have 1 gallon tank with bottom filter and a pump. How much Sea Salt do I need to put in and for how long...? <<I would recommend 1/2 tablespoon for this size aquarium. (The normal recommendation is 2-3 tablespoons per five gallons. Decimally, this works out to between 0.4 and 0.6 tablespoons per gallon, so I'm splitting the difference.) The time period is going to be a bit problematic so I'll explain this at the end of your post.>> How do I raise the temperature of the tank? Can I put it on a sunny spot? <<Don't put your tank in the sun. With a large tank this might not be a big deal, especially if you're fond of algae but, with such a small tank, you'll be warming and cooling the water much too quickly for your Betta's well-being. Good news? The salt alone will deal with the parasite. The downside with this is that the Ich's lifecycle won't be sped up as it would be if you could raise the temperature - safely - into the mid- to high-eighties. Without a heater (which you could always purchase, of course), I would continue the "salt treatment" for three weeks. This may have to be extended if you still see any infestation on your pet. (Sidenote: If you do a water change during this time, you'll be reducing the salt concentration accordingly. For instance, if you remove 1/2 gallon of water, add only 1/4 tablespoon of salt to the new water. This will maintain the appropriate 0.5/1 ratio of salt to water.>> Thank You! Love Always, Jared & Palma & Sophia <<My best to all of you. Tom>> <Need that heater. RMF>

I have been reading about ich and quarantine tanks. 7/30/06 Hi Bob, <<Hello, April. Tom, in Bob's stead.>> I have been reading about ich and quarantine tanks. <<Good.>> Guess too late though. <<Uh oh.>> I set up a 16 gal. tank 4 weeks ago. Added 3 platys 2 weeks ago. <<Bigger "Uh oh".>> I thought 2 platys had a white spot on their tails, but I just observed. Then woke to white spots all over the fish a week or so later. Went that night to LFS and he sold me ParaGuard. I did the ParaGuard, removed carbon filter, 20% water changes, raised the temp to 80. 2 days later 1st died, next day 2nd died, next day last died. <<I hope it goes without saying that I'm very sorry to hear about your pets. I'm not familiar with ParaGuard so I can't comment on how effective it may, or may not, be in combating Ich.>> I have cleaned out the carbon filter and did a 3 gal water change. <<If by "cleaned out" you mean that you removed it from the filter and threw it away, good. Activated carbon cannot be re-activated and when used for the purpose of medication removal, regardless of how little time it's been in the filter housing, you should simply toss it.>> Will I need to cycle again? <<I would if it were up to me. Normally, I would recommend purchasing BIO-Spira (Marineland) and adding it to the tank to give the cycling process a huge 'jump start'. Not in your case, though, April. The reason? I couldn't state with any degree of certainty that the Ich was eradicated from the tank. Without "host" fish, the parasite (in the juvenile stage) will die within hours. Better to raise the temperature of the tank to the mid- to upper-eighties and wait. The increased temperature will speed up the cycling time and greatly decrease the Ich's chances of survival, however small the possibility may truly be.>> Can I keep my plants alive and add new fish in 30 days? <<Most common plants should be tolerant of the elevated temperatures but I'd keep an eye on them to be sure. As for adding new fish, only testing the water parameters will let you know for sure whether, or not, the tank has cycled. Strongly consider purchasing a test kit and check the water, at least, every other day. If, after the 30 days, ammonia and nitrite levels are at 0 and nitrates are below 20, you can add new fish with confidence.>> I know now that all plant and fish will be quarantined before adding, but it seems now that I'm back to square one. <<Not by any means. You've gained valuable, if unfortunate, experience. It's only the tank that appears to be at square one.>> Spot, Tigger and Mickey will be missed. Appreciate your help knowing what to do next. April <<Again, sorry about your fish, April. Best of luck from here on. Tom>> Re: What next? 7/31/06 Tom, Thanks so much for your help. <<Hello, April. Happy to be of whatever help I can.>> I will replace the carbon filter. <<Good.>> I thought I would go ahead and put it back in until some more of the ParaGuard (ich medicine) was gone with water changes. <<Okay, this won't hurt.>> This is where I'm confused. You said to keep checking the water before adding fish. Didn't the ich meds also kill the bacteria in the bio wheel? Will there be anything to check in the water? <<My apologies for not being clearer on this point, April. First, I'm frankly operating from the standpoint that the medication damaged, if not wiped out, the beneficial bacteria that had started to colonize. (It may not have killed a single bacterium but, if there's a time to err on the side of caution, it's now.) What this means is that we're going to treat this tank like a new one. This is going to require a test kit (I use the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals test kit, myself) and, a source of ammonia. We could use fish food or fresh shrimp - without cocktail sauce - but I'd like to take this up a notch with your help. At your local hardware store, you should be able to find 100% pure ammonia without all the goodies like scents and the like added. It may be labeled as 'Clear' ammonia, as well. The main thing is that it can't have additives. With test kit at the ready, add enough ammonia to the tank ('baby' increments) to bring the ammonia level up to where the tank water reads about 5 ppm when tested. Keep track of how much you add because this will be done on a daily basis. (Too much hassle? This will cut your wait from 30 days to perhaps 10-14 days. Might even be less if your bio-colonies didn't take a big hit.) Now, here's where the daily testing comes in. What you want to see are nitrites being produced. This will indicate that ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are developing(*). Once you detect nitrites with the test kit, cut the ammonia dosage to 1/2 of the original amount per day. Continue with this dosage until you test and find both readings at 0. At this point, you're ready for some pets. (*)Someone is sure to ask what would happen if the beneficial bacteria were never harmed, i.e. wouldn't the bacteria keep reducing the ammonia and nitrites to 0 and turn this into an indefinitely long process? In a word, "No." 5 ppm (mg/l) ammonia is far more than fish will produce daily, therefore, regardless of how "cycled" a tank "may" already be, the bacteria will still have to multiply to handle the load and nitrites will be produced. We're "overloading", in a manner of speaking, except that no fish will die or, be harmed, in the process.>> Then, if there is still good bacteria in the water, should I get a sponge filter and start to run it in my 16 gal. tank so I'll be closer to having a quarantine tank ready -or- should I get the 10 gal. quarantine tank ready with a new filter and get fish in it first? <<Put the sponge filter in and allow it to cycle in the big tank. When the big tank is cycled, your sponge filter will be cycled, as well, and ready to be moved to the 10-gallon tank...QT-ready. That's not just "advice", April. I keep a hang-on filter in my main display tank all the time for QT purposes. :)>> I'm not sure which tank (a new quarantine tank or the existing tank that was medicated) will be safest for new fish. <<Won't make any difference since your new fish will be spending at least two weeks in the QT. Properly handled, you'll be enjoying your new fish, albeit it in the QT, while your big tank continues to square itself away. No worries.>> I don't know if I can handle more fish dying! <<Actually, April, our job is to try to have your fish die...of old age. :)>> April <<Please get back to me if there's anything at all that isn't crystal clear. Tom>>

Ich In A New Tank - 08/26/06 Hi Bob, My name is George, I know everyone prefaces like this but take the credit my distant friend; I've been reading articles and info on your site for years. With your help I have raised Arowanas, clown knife's, Oscars, and more. I wish I had the big bucks for saltwater but I come to you with a fresh water question. I have always used bio-Spira to get the tank cycling. It is my understanding, and this practice has worked many times before in my own experience, that you add fish within twenty-four hours of bio-Spira. It is clear to me that you need the bacteria then you need ammonia via fish to grow more bacteria. So, to the specs: It's been about a year since having a tank setup, this time I have a 55gal. tank, a good enough size penguin bio wheel filter a foot -foot and a half wide], running at 79-82 degree's F, pH of 7, ammonia and nitrites at zero for a week, ~12ppm nitrates. Primetime right, wrong! After running the tank as set up for a week I added bio-Spira within 30 hours I added three clowns loaches and a Pleco, all around three inches, thought they'd be ok starters... I know that clowns aren't the heartiest of fish but I thought I'd try, their certainly not Arowanas. After adding the fish, I dosed the tank again with bio-Spira as I usually do just to make sure I didn't skimp on anything. In the next couple of days the nitrites barely spiked (<.3 ppm) and ammonia went up to about .25 ppm, not a deadly level but the tank is definitely cycling. By day three I had two clown loaches and a Pleco. This one seemed much less active than the other two anyway, might not have been my fault I hope. So, by day six, everyone but the Pleco has ich! Giiiaaarrr!!! Yep like a pirate. So I dig into my handy bag of fish goodies [I know anyone who's had fish through the years keeps one of these] and come up with some ich attack, I read something on your site where you actually contacted the "well known" guy about this stuff. He claims it doesn't harm the biological filter, which it doesn't and that you can dose higher than suggested on the bottle to get rid of bad cases better, so I'd suppose its a good product. I put 3-4 tsp. every 12-14 hours [a suggested method in fact according to the site]. Now on day 10 I have a Pleco, today is the fourth day of ich treatment, one died yesterday one today, both looked like they were about to get better, the marks were coming more to the surface of their skin, their energy was coming back more, etc. I don't want to kill any more fish!!! The current plan is to keep dosing the tank for another four or so days, do a 25% water change, put the carbon back in the filters, and buy more fish...Awaiting input. Thanks ahead of time. George < This is always the catch-22 with a new tank. Trying to get the good nitrifying bacteria going while fighting a disease. The first thing to do would be to quarantine new fish. Easier and cheaper than treating the entire tank. When the tank got ich you could have done big water changes , added some salt and raised the water temp to a solid 82 F. In a week or so it would have been gone and the fish and bacteria would be fine. Every time you add a medication it affects the nitrification cycle. The ich medications always say they will not affect the cycle but in my experience they always do. I would have only added 1/2 of the Bio-Spira and saved the rest until the nitrites began to so up on the test kits. Right now you need to cure the ich. Medicate as needed until the fish are cured. Do a 50% water change, vacuum the gravel and clean the filter. Add carbon the remove the medication after treatment. When the tank is cleaned then add Bio-Spira as needed.-Chuck>

Goldfish with Ich 10/11/06 Thank you so much for answering my initial questions! <You're most welcome.> I bought a 10 gal. tank tonight and have it filtering now with power filter. <Wonderful - the fish will be much happier in there!> I unfortunately have a new problem... my white fantail apparently has ich. There are tiny white grains on the tail fins. <Yes, does sound like ich.> I did read the link about ich, but much of it reads like Greek to me. <I understand - it's like learning a new language from scratch.> Could you please explain in layman's terms what I need to do for this poor fish? The new tank will have filtered for 24 hours at about 10 p.m. on 10/11. Do I need to treat the fish before or after transferring to the new tank? I'm afraid to leave the fish in the small container any longer than necessary, and do not have another suitable tank available to quarantine the ichy fish. <So let me understand - you have two goldies, one affected with ich and one not? Are they currently together in the 1 gal. you previously referenced, or are they separated? If they are separated, that's good. I'd recommend moving the healthy one into the new 10 gal., and keeping the affected fish in isolation. Ich is a parasite, and if at all possible, you want to keep from introducing it into the main tank. I understand you are concerned for the fish being in a too-small container, but for temporary purposes, with sufficient water changes, it should make-do for a suitable "hospital" tank. With regards to treating the ich, you generally have several options, ranging from medication, increasing temperature of the water, increasing salinity. Personally, I like to use the heat/salinity method as opposed to medication. You'll need a heater, a thermometer, a hydrometer (to measure the water's salinity) and aquarium salt. Slowly (no more than 1 degree an hour) raise the temperature to about 80 degrees. Additionally, add aquarium salt (again slowly) to raise the salinity to around 1.002 or 1.003 (pure freshwater is 1.000). These heat will speed up the parasite's lifecycle and the salt will kill it. Make sure you are doing water changes while treating the fish - you should keep him isolated for about 4 weeks. Do check the other one closely for any signs of white spots...this disease is highly contagious. If both are affected, then obviously treat both. Again, you are lucky since you haven't introduced the parasite into your main tank...I'd suggest treating them in the 1 gal., then moving them in a month or so, when all is well. Here's a helpful article describing the parasite and its treatment in more detail: http://www.kokosgoldfish.com/IchPrevention.html - you can also read on various medications that treat ich, should you want to go that route instead.> Thanks for your time and patience! Pam Bass <Hope I've helped. Again, do check out the book I previously referenced - it also discusses ich (along with other diseases) and how to treat and prevent. Best of luck, Jorie>

Goldfish with Ich...follow up questions - 10/13/06 Hi, Jorie. <Hello Pam> Here's my trouble. 1. Both my fantails are in the 1 gal tank. <OK> 2. Only one shows signs of ich. But I assume both must be treated as both have been exposed. <There are always parasites and bacteria present in fish water; if a fish is healthy enough, its immune system should kick in to prevent it from becoming sick. Never a good idea to medicate when no symptoms are present. If you are positive the one shows absolutely no signs of ich, I'd suggest moving it to the 10 gal. Do keep an eye on water parameters, as that tank isn't cycled yet.> 3. I chose to go the medication route as I have been ill myself the last few days and haven't been able to go looking for a hydrometer. <Am very sick also- I understand.> 4. The medication (Formalin and Malachite Green) instructs to remove the carbon from filter during treatment, but the model I have has bio filter and charcoal built into one unit (I am now using a power filter instead of the undergravel filter). The water is continually dirty. <Remove the entire filter, as it will only suck out the medication if you don't. Do larger water changes - 75% at a time if you must.> 5. I'm having extreme difficulty keeping the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels down even with 25% water changes daily, Ammonia Clear and Cycle (nitrifiers) <Ditch the Ammonia Clear and Cycle and simply increase the water changes. This will go a long way towards helping your fish, even more so than the medication. Once you get the water clean, start the medication (I still suggest the heat/salt method, as QuickCure is a *very* harsh med., but I understand why you are doing what you are doing.> 6. Both fish are not happy. They keep hanging out under the water flowing back into the tank from the filter. Trying to breathe? They don't *seem* to be struggling to breathe. <If there's ammonia in the water, this explains it. Change as much water as necessary - leave only a little in the tank for the fish, and change everything else. Don't overfeed.> 7. They are not lethargic, lacking appetite, or gasping for air at the surface. <That's good.> What is my best route? Should I go ahead and transfer them to the main tank? <The non-affected one, yes - I wouldn't move the affected one.> More water changes? <YES.> I don't want to stress them out more than they already are. <I understand, but fish cannot survive with toxins such as ammonia and nitrites in there water. The two products you are adding are cr&p, in my opinion - throw them away and simply increase your water changes. Again, once the ammonia and nitrite levels are good, you can medicate if you so choose, following the directions on the package.> I would love it if you could point me in the right direction. Thanks for your time Pam Bass <You're welcome. Jorie>

Re: Goldfish with Ich...follow up questions - 10/21/2006 Dear Anyone, Jodie's email never made it to me. Don't know what to do about this fish. Getting VERY worried. The pustules on her body are huge now and they've turned yellow. Her fins are disintegrating and turning a kind of bloody color. She's hiding in the hollow log and won't come out unless she knows I've put food in. I've increased heat and salinity, but I'm afraid she's getting too sick to make it. Desperate for help now. Would be grateful to hear from anyone. Thanks, Pam Bass I'm curious how much salt is currently in the water - can you measure with a hydrometer/refractometer? it shouldn't be more than 1.002 or 1.003...goldies won't tolerate TOO much salt. For what it's worth, I think you are doing everything in your power to help this little fish...it may just be too late. Keep in mind that euthanizing is always an option if things are truly awful...pure clove oil will slowly put the fish to sleep, comfortably... Sorry for your pain/troubles. Hopefully the other goldfish is still doing well in the 10 gal? Best, Jorie>

Ich In An established Community Tank 10/11/06 Hello, I have a 46 gallon tank. I have 5 dwarf gouramis,1 blue ram, 5 guppies, 2 mollies, 3 platys, 1 small angel,1 clown Pleco. My readings were all zero and I had my temp at 80 degrees. I noticed a couple of the fish showing signs of Ich. I treated my tank with Quick cure (Malachite/formalin). I followed the instructions on the package 1 drop per gallon, so I put in 40 drops every 24 hours for 2 days, had the filters out and kept the light off. Then I started losing fish fast, my water was still perfect and my tank is clean and well kept. I believe they were poisoned by the meds. It seemed to hit the Gouramis the worst, lost 3 of them overnight, lost ram, and 2 guppies. I could tell as one was dying he was oxygen starved. I did a 30% water change and put the filters back in, I am also trying to slowly drop the temp to 75-76 degrees, since I was misinformed the first time on tank temps. I can still tell a few are acting abnormal. Now, I still have to deal with the Ich and my angel fish has a sore where he pectoral fin meets his body (not sure what it is). Can you please give me some suggestions. My Beta also has Ich and is in a 5 gallon tank. thx Jason <This is why we recommend quarantine tanks for all new fish. The medication probably affected the good nitrifying bacteria. This means that you probably had an ammonia spike. As the fish started to die the ammonia got worse and the fish got worse. I would of recommended a 50% water change, vacuuming the gravel and cleaning the filter. Then medicate while raising the water temp to 82 F. If the fish seamed stressed then I would have done an additional 50% water and cut the meds in half.-Chuck>

White spot treatment, water changing and carbon filter removal Dear WWM Crew, <Jason> Firstly, congratulations on your great website. As a novice to keeping tropical freshwater fish I've found it a fantastic resource. I know I'm not the first to thank you for the time and effort you put in, but your willingness to share your knowledge has made getting started that much easier. <Ahh, good> I've tried to avoid asking any questions up until now but I've hit a wall, so I would appreciate your help. <Will try> Firstly, let me give you the background. I have a Juwel Rio 180 litre tank stocked with the following: 2 x Male Platies, 2 x Mollies (1 Male, 1 Female), 6 x assorted Guppies (All male), 2 x Dwarf Gouramis (Male), 4 x Rosy Barbs (2 Females, 2 Males) and 1 Crowntail Siamese Fighter (Male). <Okay... do hope the size of your system affords the male guppies space to avoid nipping by your barbs, Fighter> These fish have been added around 4-6 at a time over the past month or so. The water in our tank matured for 40 days before we added any fish, although I planted it after a week with a mixture of the most common plants, grasses and ferns. It also has a natural slate pile for cover and a large artificial tree root. The temperature is set to 25 degrees Celsius. I test the water using nitrate and nitrite kits once a week and perform 20% water changes once a week. The nitrate reading is always 20 or below and the nitrite is zero. (I'm sure this is too much info, apologies - this is my first post!) <All sounds good thus far> Anyway, a few days ago we introduced 2 rainbow guppies who settled in well on day 1, but by the following day were showing white spot. As I'm trying to go 'by the book' and look after my new pets as well as possible, I had already purchased some Intrapet No6 white spot treatment (I didn't want to leave it until the advent of disease - the store is too far away!). I have read on WWM about using salt as an alternative, but I didn't feel confident enough in applying a safe but effective amount so went with the chemicals.... <Likely wise here... your plant species mix will not likely tolerate much salt> I followed the instructions and treated the water the same day, removing the carbon filter first and slightly raising the temperature to 26 Celsius. Now, 3 days after treating the water two things have happened. Firstly, the white spot on the infected guppies is showing signs of reducing. I know I need to retreat the water tomorrow (4 days after the first treatment) to completely eradicate this, but I wanted to ask your advice about conducting a water change before this second treatment. This is because the second thing that has happened is one of the other, non white spotted guppies has died. <Perhaps unrelated, but I WOULD do the water change> I have tested nitrate/nitrite again and these both seem good, but I'm a little perplexed at what may have caused the little fella's plight. I'm also aware that I'll need to leave the carbon filter out for another week after the next treatment, and that leaves me unsure about a water change. On the one hand I'd like to clean and change the water, but on the other I'm worried about the effect of introducing hard water treated with my usual 'tap water anti-chlorine' treatment (sorry, cant remember the name/brand) into a tank without a carbon filter. Please can you advise? I'm still on a steep learning curve when it comes to understanding water quality issues, the use of chemicals and such like and I'd greatly appreciate a more experienced fish keepers perspective. Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer. Keep up the good work! Jason <Will endeavor to do so. The bit of chemical mixing from the water change is no problem... Do re-treat your system... and please do consider the advantages of having a separate quarantine/treatment tank/system... for at least isolating new livestock to prevent these issues. Bob Fenner>

Ich Follow Up Hello Don. Thanks for your response. I read the article you suggested and I have a few questions. The article mentions that raising the temp to 86 Fahrenheit would likely kill the parasite. That is what I did in addition to adding a little more salt. Is that wrong in your opinion? I am a tad worried about salt on my plants so I do not want to overload the system with it. I have an Amazon sword plant, an Anubias, a Hygrophila, two pygmy chain swords, and a bunch of Italian Val. How much salt do you think those species can handle? I have a 44 gallon pentagon and I originally had just 4 teaspoons in it but I just doubled that to help with the Ich. Should I add more? Should I drop the temp? Should I use commercial meds instead? My tankmates include 8 mollies, 7 platies, and 4 swordtails, all of which I am pretty sure can handle the salt/temps. But I also have two Bengal Loaches (I know these guys shouldn't have harsh meds), two diamond tetras, two beacon tetras and two Serpae tetras that I am not so sure about. Any suggestions? You mentioned that I will have to recycle my tank. What will kill the bacteria? The salt or the temps? Should I remove the carbon from my filter? Thank you so much for your time. Sincerely, Walt <There have been reports on Ich being cured with water changes along with higher temps. The idea is to remove as many from the bottom before they can reproduce. Then kill the free swimming larvae with the heat. Not always 100% effective. If many parasites survive the heat your fish are in for a massive outbreak. If you opt to try this you should remove the gravel from the tank. Clean, boil, dry and store away for after treatment. Be aware that at 86 you will be near the upper limits of your waters ability to hold enough O2 to support the fish. Add an airstone or two. The plants will have to be kept in a fishless condition for at least 30 day, longer if kept cool. Any hitch hikers will starve without a fish host. If you had that QT tank now we could move the fish for treatment and allow the main to go fallow for 30 days. You could then leave gravel, plants and inverts in the tank. A temp of 82 to 84 would speed things up and ensure they starve out. Either high salt levels or almost all meds will kill your bio- filtration. I don't think a temperature of 86 alone will cause a big problem. But I still think you should add more salt, even with the loaches. I would measure out enough to get your concentration to around one tbls per two gallons. Remember, you already have some in there. Then make a brine and add it slowly over two or three days. Watch the loaches for breathing problems, discoloration. If they seem stressed stop adding the brine and do a small water change. This is really not the best way to use salt. You really should weigh out an exact dose. The size of the crystals makes a huge difference in the actual amount of salt in a tablespoon. But we should be close. Good luck. Don>

Ich Problems I have a 55 gallon tank. Water quality fine - nitrate at 40 though. < Too high should be under 25 ppm.> Did water change and filter change on Thursday. Put feeder cube in on Friday morning and left town. Came back on Monday to find fish covered in white spots - 3 Bala sharks, 4 Gouramis, 1 Pleco (who was added to the tank 2 weeks ago w/o a quarantine), 1 striped Raphael, 1 Cory catfish, and 1 black ghost knife fish. All 3 Bala sharks died on Tuesday before I could medicate. Removed the BGK to small fish bowl (with aeration) and treated the tank with Rid-Ich (after partial water change. Did water changes and treatments again on Wednesday and Thursday. Raised temp to 80F and added salt as well. Lost the Pleco today and the Raphael is laboring. The sickest fish appear to be the Gouramis. Not sure what to do at this point. Please help. Thank you. Michelle < Check the ammonia levels. The medication may have affected the good bacteria and the elevated ammonia levels are adding to the stress of the fish. Rid-ich is a very good product that I recommend often. Keep the tank clean and don't overfeed. If they are sick and don't feel like eating then don't feed them. They will be OK for awhile. You got a late start on the treatment and the dead fish added to the elevated ammonia levels. I would continue with the water changes and vacuum the gravel as well. You should be seeing some improvement today.-Chuck>

Persistent White Spot Outbreak Hi, We have been admiring your site for a while now and sadly are going to have to ask for some help ourselves. We set up a new 150 litre tank about a month and a half ago and put in a pre-prepared filter from another tank to minimize cycling time. We also planted it fairly heavily (maybe 15 various plants). After about a week we began to add fish since the water tested ok. All was going well until we naively bought some 'Blue Tetras' which turned out to have been dyed. These fish had obviously been stressed by their appalling treatment and introduced a white spot epidemic that has wiped out a lot of our fish so far, with little signs of improvement. We have lost a Cory, a guppy, a harlequin and 12 Neons. The Blue Tetras have gone back to the shop who admitted that the fish had been treated for whitespot when they came in. We started treating the outbreak with Protozin as per the instructions. <Mmm, wonder what is in this product... the manufacturer does not state: http://www.waterlife.co.uk/waterlife/protozin.htm but it's used for most all metazoan, protozoan complaints> i.e. Days 1, 2, 3 and 6 but saw next to no improvement in the condition of the fish and, in fact, began to lose fish. We then realized that we had accidentally left the carbon pad in place in the filter and removed it. We spoke to the LFS and they advised treating on a daily basis (or even double dosing) until the outbreak was over and raising the temperature. We went up to 28C but since we have Corys in there we don't feel we can go any higher at the moment. <Correct> After the second week of daily dosing and steadily losing 1, 2 or 3 fish a day, we removed the 4 remaining Neons and 2 heavily infected Corys to a hospital tank (with a pre-prepared filter) and dosed them with Methylene Blue on the basis that there was no longer anything to lose. We have so far seen an apparent improvement in the condition of the Corys and have moved them back to the main tank and have lost 2 more Neons, with their mates looking as though they will follow them. Some of the Harlequins now look as though they have white and/or orange fungus on them and we fear that we are going to lose all of the fish in the tank. There are currently 7 Corys, 4 Guppies, 9 Harlequins and a few baby Platies that we (unfortunately) put in there for safe keeping. We have water chemistry as follows: pH=7.7 NO2=0 NH3=0.6 NO3=6 But here's the strange bit, GH=100 & KH=40. We had 3 rocks in there that we got with the tank, but didn't know the history of, so they have been removed for testing when they have dried out. We have added a supplementary filter to scrub up the water while we tip chemicals in there. Today I did a 20% water change to get the NH3 down a bit. Please does anyone have any idea at all what we might try next? We, and everyone else we've asked, are pretty much at a loss now and we feel as though the advise is going round in circles. The amount of fish we have lost now is very distressing (and tragic for them) and although it may be argued that we stocked a little on the quick side, we have got away with this before by constantly monitoring the water condition. Hope you can help and TIA, Mike <Thank you for writing so thorough- and lucidly. I do have input on how I would have treated your fishes... including quarantine of all, avoidance of infested fish/es... of course. And a S.O.P. here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm. In your case I would have elevated temperature in a separate treatment tank and used half doses of Malachite Green solution... and done otherwise as you have... testing for water quality, making water changes... I do hope your travails are over soon and you have no more troubles with disease. Bob Fenner>

Bluegill with Ich 8/11/05 Hello, <Hi there> I'd like to say thanks for the previous help you've given me. I have an ich problem with my bluegill right now. Its 2" long in a 30 gal tank (only fish), and I'm using 300 gal/hr Whisper filter w/ carbon. I think it would stress my fish to raise the temp over 75 degrees, which is what I have now (the bluegill is native to US and I believe it goes to cooler/deeper water when it gets hotter but I may be wrong). <Nope, you're right... rare for this fish/species to occur in warmer water> I wanted to use aquarium salts, but I wasn't sure if bluegills could handle 1ppm of salt - <They can... if in good health> I think they should. Also, could I remove the plants in the aquarium and carbon in the filters and treat with salt in the display tank? <Probably best... and I'd use a Malachite Green product as well...> If not, can my hospital tank (and in the future, QT tank) be a 5 gal plastic tub with a sponge filter? Suggestions? Thanks in advance. -Andrew <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Treating Corydoras paleatus in main tank 8/24/05 Hi again, I have a question about treating my main tank for ich. I have a 10 gallon tank with 4 peppered Corys in it right now. I've recently moved my 3 goldfish into another 10 gallon tank and don't know if I want to keep it as a QT tank or keep them in there for good. <... you were keeping Callichthyid (tropical) catfish with coldwater goldfish?> I also moved my 4th goldfish into a temporary 3? gallon tank. I plan on either giving that one away to a friend or a pet store because it's getting way too big and it's pretty aggressive towards one of my goldfish. I know... too many goldfish for a 10 gallon tank haha <Ahh, not funny...> I didn't know/read about fish when I got them for my birthday so here I am with too many. <Very common> Now I'm trying to get rid of them. Anyways the goldfishes are being treated for ich in the other tank right now but I don't know what to do about the ich that could be in my main tank and my Corys. I want to just treat them in the main tank but I heard ich med kills the beneficial bacteria. <Likely so> I wanted to try treating the tank with salt but I don't know how well my Corys would do in it. <Don't like> Is there a way to treat my main tank with my Corys still in it without the risk of any dying? <Half dose/s, elevated temperature> They are doing really well and I don't wanna jeopardize their lives. And does salt kill the beneficial bacteria? <Yes, can> Whenever I treat fish in a QT tank they always seem to get so sluggish and I don't know if I'm doing it right or not. <Good question, speculation> Oh and one more thing! This is just for the future if I wanted to keep other fish. I want to add 2 more Corys to the 4 that are already in the tank. Will any kind do or should I stick with peppered Corys? <Can mix> I would also like to add a few fish that aren't bottom feeders. Which kind would do well with Corys and also won't make my tank overstocked? Thank you so much your help. It's great to know that I have a reliable source to direct my questions to! Wayne <Read on my young friend... re livestock selection, ich... the latter here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Ick Medication Related Question 11/24/05 Hi: I hope you might be able to answer my question regarding the ick medication I am currently using. <Will try> I have a 50 gallon tank with two Black Moors and one Fancy Goldfish. Two weeks ago one of my Black Moors developed ick. I put him in a separate 10 gallon tank <Mmm, need to treat all> and added Coppersafe medication by Mardel in it. <I would use Malachite Green on goldfish here> It has been two weeks now and he has developed even more tiny white dots all over his fins and body. He looks very stressed, sits on the bottom of the tank and does not eat at all. I do know that this medication takes up to 20 days to work <Mmm, no... not for this, other protozoan complaints> but I am afraid that my fish might die before it is actually treated. <Likely so> So, I was thinking of either adding an Ick Guard by Jungle Products or either adding salt to the aquarium. Should I change all of the water first or could I add the new medication given that the water Ph, Hardness, Alkalinity, Nitrite and Nitrate levels are within the normal ranges. Thank you so much for you answer, Iana <Please... take your time reading what we have archived on WWM re FW ich: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files at top... then on to Goldfish Disease... Bob Fenner>

Sick fish 11/22/05 Hi, hope you can give me advice please.... <We'll see> 3 weeks ago I bought 3 new fish to add to my tank which was currently containing just 1 fish - a 9 year old goldfish. Three days later the new shubunkin had tiny white spots on it <... the new fish introduced ich, a parasite> - I didn't have a spare tank to isolate it in & so bought a white spot treatment & treated the whole tank. The spots disappeared only for me to find ALL 4 fish covered in them a few days later. <The disease just cycled...> I've continued treating the tank as per the instructions on the treatment bottle but the shubunkin died on Friday after being really lifeless with a ragged tail fin, the black moor had the same ragged fin & white spots & died on Saturday. <The make-up of the system "uses up" the medication...> My Blue Oranda is swimming about still with a couple of spots but is very active & feeding. My original goldfish has spent the last week lying at the bottom of the tank with his head in an ornamental pot (coming out occasionally to a circuit of the tank before returning to the bottom). His shine has gone & he looks dull & a there's a grayish white fuzziness look about him, especially on the fins. I really don't know where to go from here - continue with the white spot treatment or is something else wrong? <Need to do a few things more here... Remove any chemical filtration (e.g. carbon), vacuum the gravel, perhaps remove it if this is the only tank you have, and the gravel is "natural" (i.e. not coated, colored... as it is/will absorb the medication... and test daily for ammonia, nitrite... keep these below 1.0 ppm by changing water> My tanks is 11 gallons with a filter running. I've had the original fish 9 years with not a problem. I did an ammonia & ph test today which were both normal. Help please!!! <An eleven gallon tank is not large enough for even the one goldfish... all new fishes should be quarantined... Sorry to read of your troubles. For review, please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm. Bob Fenner> Ich troubles, and a lack of detail 11/20/05 A week ago I noticed our Oscars and tinfoil barbs were itching on rocks and had white spots on them. <Yikes> We started treating them with Rid Ich, but it made my largest Oscar mad and he started attacking the barbs. <Interesting> We tried to keep the barbs alive but they are all dead now. Our Oscars still have ich, their eyes are cloudy and the white Oscar has red streaks on his fins. They are barely eating anything. Should we stop giving them Rid Ich and give them Maracyn 2 instead? <... need much more information here... as in the history, make-up of this system, what your water quality tests show, what else you have done thus far... Maracyn (1 and 2) are antibiotics, Ichthyophthiriasis, caused by a protozoan... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm and the linked files above... and quick... I would be elevating water temperature, checking for ammonia, nitrite... Bob Fenner>

Ich Vash! Betta is Ich-y 11/30/05 I bought this Betta a week and a half ago. His name is Vash. He has white spots on his body. He was acting healthy yesterday and I saw no signs of anything wrong. Today I noticed the ick and went to the store and bought Ick Away. I clean his water very regularly, but I'm afraid I feed him too much. Could that have caused it? <You should feed very, very sparingly in this small tank.> I'm so confused. He is in a 2.5 gallon tank and seemed extremely healthy (flared fins and playful movements). <Yup, betas are great.> Why did he get this disease? I just lost another beta exactly a week ago. <He may have already been carrying it at the store (the life cycle of Ick is around 4 weeks).> This one is my favorite and I really don't want him to die. I'm sorry, I didn't have time to read through all the sites on WetWebMedia. Is there anything else I can do? I'm afraid I will lose him very soon. Please respond as soon as possible. <I would gradually raise the temperature in the tank (you'll need a small submersible heater) to over 85 degrees. This will speed up the life cycle of the ick. Add aquarium salt according to the directions on the package to kill parasites. Replace part of the water frequently with dechlorinated water of the same temperature, salted enough to keep the salt concentration at the correct levels. When removing water from the tank, try to suck it from the bottom. Continue this treatment (heat and salt) for a couple of weeks after all symptoms have disappeared. After this, do read up on nitrogenous wastes (ammonia, nitrite and nitrate), and how to keep them in check.> Thank you. -Katie- <Welcome. Best of luck to you and your Anabantoid friend. John>

Ich! Vash! Getting Better 12/1/05 Thank you so much, John, for the quick reply. <You're welcome> You probably saved my fish. Vash is clearing up. He only has a few spots now. <Good to hear. Remember, Ich has a 4-week lifecycle... and is only visible on the fish for one week of this, so be sure to follow the recommended course on the bottle through to completion. Vacuuming off the bottom will also help to get rid of parasites which have dropped off the fish.> I wasn't able to go purchase a heater last night, but I turned up the heat in the dorm. <Stability is key here> The Ick Away seems to have done the job for now, but I am still concerned. Should I continue the treatment? I'm afraid I have become rather paranoid about Vash after Wolfwood (my other Betta) died last week. Wolfwood's bowl sat next to my "super loud" alarm clock. Could that have been a factor in his death? <It's always important to limit stress factors in fish, especially in such small quarters> I don't know what was wrong with him. He wouldn't eat and he laid vertically at the bottom of the bowl with his tail straight up. He swam on his side and had to do complex acrobatics just to get up for air. It became increasingly harder for him to do so. He eventually gave up and dove down into the rocks as fast as he could and didn't attempt to get air any more. I don't know if it was the lack of air or the force of the impact that killed him. Could he have had a swim-bladder problem? <I'd suspect water quality issues.> As for Vash, do I have to look online for a heater for so small a tank (2.5 gallons) or can I get one at Wal-Mart or PetSmart? <I can't say (don't have such stores locally). It may even be cheaper to just buy a cheap 5g tank and a 50W heater. Then, with a small hang-on filter, you have the perfect tank for a Betta.> Also, should I purchase rock salt and pH test strips? <Nitrite and ammonia test kits will be of more use here.> Another question I have concerns my friend's betas. She keeps her room fairly cold (probably around 60 degrees), and she keeps them in rather small bowls. Her fish have been doing fine for months now. Is this a fluke? <It can be done -- these fish are very hardy. Unfortunately, they all-too-often suffer for this.> I gave her Vash's old bowl after I bought the tank for him, but it still doesn't seem big enough. Her fish often change to a grayish color when the water gets dirty but become vibrant again once their bowls are cleaned. She changes the water once a week, but that doesn't seem enough for such a small bowl. Sorry for writing so much. <You're very welcome. Good luck with Vash.> Thanks again, Katie. <Best regards, John>

Freshwater good and bad news Greetings to all! The bad news is that I recently bought a number of fish to stock my recently-established 180 gallon freshwater tank and now a couple of the fish have a "light" case of ich. The good news is that I started them (and have kept them since purchase) in a QUARANTINE tank!! I have read through your site a number of times, and the importance of using a quarantine tank has been stressed repeatedly. Although I have been doing this for more than 20 years without quarantining new fish, (dodged a lot of bullets, I guess) I took your advice and I'm happy I did. <Me too! The general quality of freshwater livestock has vastly disimproved over the last decades> The quarantine tank is my old 58 gallon Oceanic with established biofiltration. The new fish currently residing in the Q tank are clown loaches (small), two small Cory catfish, small Pleco and a couple of blue Gouramis, several small glass catfish and Hatchetfish. Right now only one Gourami has spots -- just a couple on tail fin and a couple on the body. I have begun raising the temperature from 79 F to the goal temperature in three days of 84F. I am hesitant to medicate the tank, because the fish look so good otherwise. They are swimming, eating, and active. Is the temperature treatment enough to "cure" the outbreak? If I use medication, do you recommend the Rid-Ich (malachite and Formalin?) Should I get the medication and watch and wait and only medicate if the problem worsens? <Yes. This is what I would do. Wait a good few days to a week... see if the ich "cycles off" and doesn't resurface... another week and you are past a "highly virulent" phase... with little likelihood of a recurrence. Bob Fenner> thanks for your help! tom

Freshwater Frustration (Fighting Ich) But this recent freshwater ich problem has got me frustrated. In an earlier post that Bob Fenner responded to, I wrote that I had an ich outbreak in a 60 gallon FW quarantine tank. I have a few of several types of fish, including clown loaches, glass catfish and blue Gouramis. In any event things were going fine for a couple of weeks when I noticed the characteristic appearance of ich spots. I raised the temperature to 84 and began medicating with Rid-Ich+. I meticulously kept up the instructions for about 8 days ( using the optional 12-hour dosing schedule), with absolutely no improvement in appearance of the fish, except that the clown loaches got worse (they look like the rim of a margarita glass). So, I changed out enough water to assure most of the malachite and formalin were gone, and added Coppersafe. The temperature is now at 86, with heavy aeration and filtration. Carbon and PolyFilter have been removed. I am also running a Diatomagic diatom filter (mostly for the aeration, but also in the hope of snagging a few free-swimming parasites). Other than looking encrusted, the fish are behaving well (other than some scratching, of course) and eating with gusto. I plan to do daily partial water changes, as well. Any other suggestions for this frustrating problem? <In this instance, I'd follow the full course of Copper Safe and observe the fishes carefully. With good food, a correct therapeutic dose of copper, and a little time, you should see some improvement in a matter of days...> PS The 180 FW tank they're destined for when they're better houses two 7-inch 13 year-old clown loaches and a ten-year old Pleco. <I love those fish...Especially the gnarled-out old ones! That's a longevity record to be proud of!> I am really glad I used a quarantine tank -- best advice I've ever read (and heeded)! <Glad that you feel that way! It is so essential to fishkeeping success that I hope it becomes part of everyone's routine! Quarantine just plain WORKS!> thanks tom <My pleasure, Tom...Just stay the course, and don't give up on the fish...You've done great so far- keep it up! Regards, Scott F>

Ich Cured Finally Finally got the virulent outbreak of ich in my FW quarantine tank cured. I tried the popular malachite green and formalin medication with no results. <yes, they are normally more harmful to the fish than the ich!!> Finally raised the temperature to 87F and switched to CopperSafe, (monitored with a test kit) which cleared the infestation in less than a week.<Copper Sulfate is the best way to treat parasites> I left the copper in the tank for another week, and a week ago began removing copper with PolyFilter (is that stuff great or what -- pads turned bright blue-green!).<yes, this really works> I lost fewer than a third of my infected fish (all prior to use of CopperSafe). <sounds good except for the third of livestock lost> Of course not happy to have lost any, but glad the survivors made it. <agreed> I am planning to move the survivors into my display tank in about another week (total of 3 weeks since last ich spot seen). Is that enough time?<I would let it go 4-5 weeks, you would be surprised how long ICH can live without a host!!!..better safe than sorry my friend, Good luck, IanB> thanks tom

Ich medication is not working Hello there, I am having a problem treating ich in my tank. I have a 29 gallon freshwater tank. I have a few hatchet fish, and some black phantom tetras (I did have cardinal tetras, but they all died) <A tough fish to keep, indeed; very, very sensitive to medications and water parameters.> The hatchet fish were the first to show symptoms. I also have a wood shrimp, which I took out before adding any medication. <Ahh, good move!> First I got Kordon RidIch, I have been using this for over a week and it does not seem to be doing anything. <It may take a while for the meds to become effective, especially if you are using it half-strength (recommended with sensitive tetras, etc.).> After I started using it, I noticed that the black phantoms started to get spots, it looks like the hatchet fish have more ich now than when I started. <It may appear to get worse before it gets better. I would strongly recommend reading the following article for a better understanding of this illness: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm > I have been following the directions, and doing a water change before each treatment. <Wonderful.> I went to the pet store today and bought some Mardel Coppersafe, it doesn't give me very much information about it. I also read some where that if I use copper in my aquarium, I won't be able to put any invertebrates in the tank, and I would like to put my wood shrimp back in. <You are *exactly* correct! Copper will adhere to your substrate, decor, etc., and leach out slowly over time. Returning the shrimp to the tank after copper treatment is very, very risky - I would not use the copper, at all. Ananda introduced me to a product called "Eco-Librium FW" made by Fish-Vet; she has informed me that it works very, very well, and has thus far been safe for her scaleless buds - but I do not know how shrimp-safe it would be; no ingredients are listed. Here is the manufacturer's rundown: http://www.fishvet.com/pages/disease2.tmpl?sku=09202001140509 .> Do you have any suggestions? <By far, your best option is to remove the fish from the tank and use whatever medication you prefer on the fish in a separate quarantine/hospital tank. Then, you will not have to worry about the shrimp, and he can go back to his home after you clean the RidIch from the tank.> Thank you so much, <Any time.> Leeann Pippert <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>

Bristles in Yer Nose! I recently acquired a breeding pair of Albino Bristlenose Plecos, I put them in a 20 gal. QT tank along with a few Rummynose tetras. My goal was QT for 6 weeks and than to introduce them into my 92 gallon discus tank, which I have had set up for over 3 years, with no problems. I also I have a 55 gal Discus tank never a problem. After 2 days I notice ich on the RN Tetras, I immediately raised the temp to 84 degrees, increase air and began to use Jungle labs Ich Guard II. (Formalin 37% solution, Victoria green, Nitromersol, and Acriflavine) I called Jungle Labs prior to use and they assured me that it would treat the problem without harming the Plecos or the couple of plants in the tank. It has been 8 days of 1 teaspoon per 10 gallon treatment with the 84 degree temp. The RN Tetras seemed to be looking better, but today one of them had a lot of spots beginning again. Both Plecos seem to be free at this point, all fish in tank are eating aggressively. I did read all other posts regarding ich, my situation is slightly different than any of those. Any insight would be appreciated. < If you still having problems then I would try a different medication. I personally use Rid-ich by Kordon. It is basically Formalin and Malachite green. Follow the directions on the bottle. Ich is a protozoa that spends some time infested on the fishes skin and gills. At this point it is almost impossible to kill. It does leave its host to reproduce and is vulnerable at this stage. Sometimes it can stay on the fish for a few days. So be patient change some water and try a water treatment that includes and additive that adds a protective slime coat on the fish.-Chuck> Jim P

My catfish have Ick! Help! Hello, My name is Debbie. I am new with fish and just purchased some really neat 6 inch long catfish. I can not remember what they are called. But they are white with black spots all over the place. I also have 2 two inch water crabs in the same 10 gallon tank. When I woke up one morning, my catfish were all laying on the rocks not really moving. I noticed white spots all over their bodies. One of their bodies starting losing all of it's spots. I called someone I knew, she said that my fish developed Ick (Ichthyophthirius). I quickly purchased Wardley Watercare Ick Away medicine. What am I supposed to do besides adding a teaspoon of the medicine every 24 hours and turn off my filter? Am I supposed to wait and keep using the Ick Away every 24 hours? Plus how am I supposed to give them baths? Is it too late to save them? Please contact me on my email at DebbieXXXX.net as soon as possible. Thank You. <<Your TEN gallon tank is way too small for a pair of SIX INCH catfish. Are they even still alive?? Why did you turn your filter off, please turn it back on. When medicating fish, you need to remove the carbon, do NOT turn the filter off! Your best bet is to take these SIX INCH fish back to the store you bought them at, and exchange them for a couple of small, hardy tetras. And tell the store you have a TEN GALLON tank, that has not been cycled yet. If you tell the store people your tank size, they will surely know better than to sell you such large fish. By the way, depending on the medication you are using, it may kill your crabs. Please ask the store some questions and make sure you understand the answers before buying anymore large fish OR medications. -Gwen>>

Oof - Spots on Cat my catfish I believe has ick, he has spots around his gills and fins, I've treated the water twice, do you think he will be ok ,do I need to keep treating him. < White spots are definitely a sign of ich. Catfish can be sensitive to ich medication so read the directions carefully. It takes at least 3 days to cure it. Maybe longer if the medication is cut in half as some recommend. Make sure you do a water change in between treatments. Raise the water temp. to 82 degrees will help too. When the spots are gone the parasite may still be in the water in an almost invisible larva stage so follow the directions on the package.-Chuck> (WWM Crew's usual admonition - please use proper punctuation & capitalization!)

FW catfish, ich follow-up yes my fish is better, but his gills look awful raw and red around them, is there anything I can do or will it heal up. thank you so much. and when can he eat minnows again < It may be awhile for the gills to heal completely. Keep the water well oxygenated and you can drop the water temp down to 78-80 degrees. If you must feed minnows it is best to quarantine them before adding them to your main tank. Feeder fish are a major source of introducing diseases to aquariums so should be used cautiously.-Chuck>

Ich - catfish, rope fish Hello! Hope all are doing well today. We have read through a great many of your articles and postings and we have used this information to successfully treat ich once before, though we did accidentally kill our first rope fish by giving him a 'salt dip.' So this time, we are writing to ask about our specific fish. We are very concerned over losing them, and we hope you can help us. <Will try> We have ich - there's no question about it. I believe we obtained it through a group of feeder fish (Rosey Reds) that I did not quarantine. It was a busy day and rather than 'going through the trouble of quarantining,' I simply came home and dumped them in our beloved tank. <Yikes> The occupants of our tank are as follows: 1 upside-down catfish, 1 Pleco, 1 crayfish, 1 tiger shovelnose catfish, 2 parrot fish, 1 rope fish, 3 tiger barbs, 2 gold snails, and 1 fiddler crab. <Quite a mix... am sure you are aware of how large the Shovelnose cat will get... its propensity for swallowing tankmates> We are particularly concerned about the treatment of the rope fish and the tiger cat. We found articles concerning treating the other types of fish, but not those two in particular. So far, we have increased the water temperature from 77 to 80 degrees, removed the carbon from the filter as well as the ornaments from the tank, and we have used the gravel vac. We are unsure what measures to take now due to the tiger cat and the rope fish. <I would raise the temperature further... to the mid eighties F., and use half doses of ich medicine... likely malachite or copper based> Thank you in advance for reading this and, hopefully, for your help. Sincerely, Gary and Melissa Kramer <Bob Fenner>

Goldfish and Pleco Tank with Ick We have 3 goldfish that we have had for over 3 years without a problem. But our tank seems to have a lot of algae, so we got a Pleco from the pet store. As soon as he went into the tank (after the normal adaptation process), the goldfish started acting weird. First, they all lay clumped down together on the bottom corner of the tank, hardly moving, then they all were doing tail stands, all fins pulled in. My husband did water changes, and tested the water. The nitrates were high, but that was all, so he kept doing water changes. Then, a couple days later, I noticed the ich. Tiny white spots all over. So we started treating with IckAway. Now, on the third day of treatment, their tails are all mangled and eaten away. One had a long beautiful tail, and not its all just strings practically. What do we do? Where did we go wrong (besides bringing the algae eater into our lives)? And how do we fix it before they all die? Thanks so much! <Hi Don here. I would continue with the water changes, without the Ick medicine, until nitrates are below 20ppm. Both Goldfish and Plecos are massive waste producers. And the Ick med may have killed off the bacteria needed to process that waste. This could be the cause of the fin rot. Check for ammonia and nitrite. Do water changes to keep both at zero. Add about one tbls of aquarium salt to every 2 gallons of water to kill off the Ick and help the fins grow back. Mix the same concentration in the replacement water before adding it to the tank. Watch the Plec for signs of stress, Clamped fins, rapid breathing. He he's OK, increase to one tbls per gallon. These two fish need different water temperatures. The Goldfish around 70, the Plec around 80. During Ick treatment, raise to around 78 and add an airstone. Keep the salt in the water for at least 3 weeks after the last spot drops. Then reduce the salt and lower the temp to around 74. that should keep everyone comfortable. BTW the "normal adaptation process" for any new addition is 30 days in QT to prevent Ick and others from getting to the tank in the first place. Now you see why>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: